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PERFECTING THE PERFECT CV

Your CV is one of the most important pieces of written material you will ever produce; it is an evolving professional snapshot of your workplace capabilities, and a punchy statement of your employability.

Your CV is one of the most important pieces of written material you will ever produce; it is an evolving professional snapshot of your workplace capabilities, and a punchy statement of your employability.

Due to the pressure of fierce competition, starting or perfecting a CV can be overwhelming.

Like many others, you may start pulling out your archived certificates, files and folders.

Cue recounting the jobs you have had, recalling the skills you have learned over the years, remembering the awards and grades you have earned after sweat, tears and toil, and then, start compiling it all in a short and sweet document.

Before you start typing, editing and formatting your CV, whether in preparation for your dream job, or, as a regular refresher, below are some of the key areas you would benefit from considering to ensure your CV advocates you as the perfect fit:

  • Sell yourself. Think of this as a ‘party election broadcast’ for you. What do you stand for? Use your CV as a brilliant marketing tool portraying you, outlining your skills, qualifications, and previous work experience to employers, making you relevant, sought-after and somebody people can see themselves working with.
  • Be clear and concise; make sure your CV is easy to read as the chances are you are one of multiple applicants.
  • Proof-read your CV. Check your spelling; do not mistake “due diligence” for “dew diligence” and avoid mistaking last years’ “profit” for “prophet”. Grammar is so important too. Try not to be colloquial and avoid short forms such as “don’t”, “I’m” and so on. Remember, seeing your CV scattered with red pen can be daunting but if you ask another professional person to review your CV, this help can be invaluable. If it helps, one of our dedicated consultants will be at hand to assist you.
  • Do not showcase the things that are not relevant. Yes, you partied hard at University and your favourite colour is orange, but, this will not help your new boss to appreciate your applicable skills.
  • Simplify your layout and make sure that you format your CV so it looks neat and tidy. Your prospective employer has only a limited time to scan through your CV. Remember to use a clean, professional font, such as Calibri and stick with it throughout.
  • Keep it snappy. If you restrict your CV to two pages, including neatly delineated headings, it is more likely to be viewed in full.
  • Areas to include (each can be a separate heading in your CV):
    • Begin with your name, address and contact details.
    • Profile – this is a short paragraph tailoring your key strengths and ‘matching-up’ your skills, ultimately pairing you with the job you are applying for.  Some people prefer to produce a separate covering letter including this information.
    • Education and Qualifications – starting with the most recent establishment, subject and grade, list those back as far as GCSE (or equivalent).
    • Employment History – again, list the most current first. For every position held, include the company name and address, the dates that you were employed, your current or former job title, and a brief description of the main duties undertaken. Identify succinctly the experiences, successes, achievements and qualities that you gained.
    • Achievements and Awards – scholarships, prizes, sporting awards or otherwise should be placed in this glitzy section.
    • Hobbies and Interests – you may be an aspiring Bear Grylls or a stamp-collector. This section should be a more personal reflection of you and your recreational activities. However, be mindful of the job you are applying for and consider whether your array of hobbies are relevant for the role. You may wish to include charity work, community-based volunteering or any other extra-curricular activities showing those reading your cv that you are motivated, multi-faceted and most of all, human.
    • References – these are the people who can vouch for you. This section can either simply state “available upon request”, or, you may include your referees’ names (usually two are included and at least one from your most recent place of employment) and their contact details, making them easily reachable. The latter option promotes transparency, and, providing details in advance can save time for the employer when it comes to selecting you for the job. Perhaps include your referee-details within the footer to save space! Please check with your referees first before featuring them in your CV if only to make sure they are entirely delighted to speak about your brilliance.
    • Be truthful! – remember the employer can go and check your background and references!
    • Include a covering letter – if you are not integrating your personal statement in your CV as discussed at point b) your covering letter should outline why you are the person for the job. You may be required (or prefer) to produce a covering letter as well as an integrated personal statement; just remember to keep it relevant, you must show that you match-up to the job. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer, think about what the job entails, and demonstrate you have the requisite skills-set and values.

If you follow these top tips then you are going to have a strong CV that will impress the employer and represent your finest qualities in the most effective way. If, however, you have any questions or simply just wish to discuss your CV with us then please get in touch.

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