Short and Sweet
Ideally your CV should be no more than 2 pages long. Wording should be concise, sentences short and bullet points used where appropriate. Hiring managers and recruiters spend on average 15 – 20 seconds looking at any one CV, so make sure every one of those seconds count.
Key Skills and Achievements
Don’t be afraid to shout about your key career achievements to date – it’s what is going to set you aside from the competition. Try to be specific and support statements where you have added value with numerical evidence, such as ‘95% learner completions against 70% target’ or ‘114% annual sales figures achieved against target.’ The more specific and measurable your achievements are, the more impressive these statements will appear.
Presentation – keep it simple
Each section of your CV should be easy on the eye and clutter free. Choose a clear layout that allows key points to stand out and use a universal font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Hiring managers and recruiters alike are interested in your most recent work experience, and so it is always best to start with this information directly after your personal details and profile. Education and Qualifications comes next, although if a particular qualification is essential for a role, it pays to mention this on your first page in your Key Skills and Achievements.
Put Yourself in the Hiring Manager’s Shoes
Before applying for a role, be sure to familiarise yourself with what key skills, experience and qualifications the employer is looking for. Cross referencing your CV against a Job Advert, Person Specification or Job Description will demonstrate to the Hiring Manager that not only are you a good match on paper for the role, but you are also serious about the opportunity, as you have invested time and effort into tailoring your CV. Putting the above into practice will greatly improve your chances of being selected for interview.
Everybody lies on their CV, right – Wrong! Providing inaccurate information will only create problems further down the line. Be sure to list relevant qualifications and training, and if specific qualifications are going to give you the edge, include these at the forefront of your CV. Be honest though as these may be checked out.
And finally, it goes without saying, there are no excuses for spelling and grammar errors. Also be mindful of errors concerning contact details such as an incorrect phone number listed or employment dates not matching. These will cost you, and so if in doubt, get somebody to proofread your CV for you.