Give your CV a Nip and a Tuck
Careers coach Penny Strutton is writing a weekly column for This Is Nottingham with advice for job seekers. This week she looks at how to write a great CV...
If you're job hunting, the first thing you'll need is a great CV. I have seen a number of weird and wonderful CV's which, because of the style and length, were painting a very poor picture indeed. With a few standard nips and tucks, the CVs were pulled together to promote the skills, strengths and achievements and instead of landing in the bin, demonstrated strong and capable candidates worthy of an interview.
So how can you get your CV to promote you successfully? I've put together some bullet points for you to help you get started.
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Style: There are a couple of standard styles of CV out there. The style you go for will depend on your career history. The Chronological CV documents your career history starting with your most recent job. This style is great if your career history has logically developed from one role to another without any gaps. The other is the functional CV. This focuses on the skills acquired throughout your work history. If you've had gaps in employment this is the style to go for!
Skills: before you write your CV, it is worthwhile to list all the skills you've developed over your career and life time. Many will be transferable which is great if you are looking for a career change. Think about which skills are needed for the type of job roles you are applying for and pull out examples of how you've utilised these skills. If you are going for a functional CV, you can list these examples at the top of your CV under your profile. If you'd rather the chronological, you can highlight the skills in bullet point at the top of your CV and detail the examples under your different job roles.
Achievements: If you're looking to stand out from the crowd it is well worth including achievements on your CV. To write an achievement think about the challenge you were faced with, the actions you took and the impact you made. Every employer wants to see how you personally can make a difference to their company, these achievements can help demonstrate it. I would include a separate heading for achievements and list a couple of impressive examples which provide evidence of different scenarios and skills.
Profile: it is worthwhile including a profile at the start of your CV. This will be a couple of sentences in length and highlight your skills, experience, any relevant qualifications and a hint of personality. It's a great approach to giving a snapshot of a person to encourage further reading.
Language: remember to use positive words which paint a picture of you as an individual. However, don't go over the top with adjectives and always provide evidence to statements if you can.
Length: Try and keep it to 2 pages. Remember this is a summary of your experience and qualifications, not a dossier of your life. The point of a CV is to be brought into interview where you can spend time providing the detail which you strategically leave out in your CV!
Extra information: you don't need to include personal information such as a photo, your age, ethnicity or marital status.
Tailoring your CV: You will need to tailor your CV for most jobs you are applying for. An employer wants to see direct skills and examples of how you can demonstrate the responsibilities as detailed in their job description and how you meet their criteria in the person specification. Don't cut corners and send off a standard CV, make sure you spend the necessary time cherry picking the best examples that match the requirements of the job.
I know writing about yourself can be tricky, however, if you use these points you should be able to put together a good CV. If you're battling please take a look at my website for further assistance through my career coaching packages and online job seeker training.