Generally speaking, you have a matter of seconds to sell yourself to a hiring manager or recruiter so your CV, the first introduction to the gatekeepers, is a key element to get right.
Whether you are a young graduate who’s experience is a little thin, or a seasoned work horse with years of corporate exposure under your belt, there are some basic facts which remain true across the board.
- First impressions are vital. Ensure that your CV is formatted properly. What do we mean by that? Well, if you have a list of qualifications, make sure they line up and your text is justified. Use the same font throughout (And by the way, comic sans is a definite no!), DONT USE CAPS, IT’S INCREDIBLY HARD TO READ. Use headings and bullet points as opposed to free text, it makes it easy to pick out the important bits.
- Proof read your CV. You will be amazed at how many people went to “XYZ High Scool”, or that they took time off to “renovate their horse”. Spelling errors and grammatical bloopers are your first step out the door. And most important of all, make sure that your contact details are correct or you can be sure not to hear back from anyone! It is worthwhile taking the time and energy to get it 100% right.
- Fill in the blanks. Very few people have an iron clad CV, and if they do it may not all be true. Those dates in between jobs, perhaps you were relocating or having babies ~ it’s all fine as long as you note down the reason for them. And as far as possible, be honest. 3 months out of work to get over the death of your cat is not going to sell you too well. And speaking of dates, start and finish dates for degrees, diplomas, jobs are vital. Saying that you worked at a company for six years is great, but we will still need to know the dates. It may have taken you eight years to complete your degree, again, let’s see it.
- Writing lots and saying nothing? Do you know how many people are “bubbly and outgoing and wonderful communicators”? If you are going to make personal statements, keep them short, and quantify them. Otherwise you’re likely to bore your hiring manager
Remember, you may not get the opportunity to rectify blunders, so make sure you get it right first time.