Creating a knock-out CV takes time. There is a number of aspects you have to consider in order to give yours the best shot at being considered over others. You’re up against countless other candidates so making sure you have the best CV in the pile is crucial to any further success with any role you apply for.
Here are some tips from our consultants on getting those all-important details right.
Never write and send in one go
You might think you’ve remembered everything but be sure. It’s a good idea to come back to your CV a few times before you send it so you can review with a fresh set of eyes. This is a good idea in general but it can be what means you don’t leave anything out. Give yourself plenty of time before you apply to any job to write – review – edit/improve.
Don’t downplay the short stays
We’ve had quite a few candidates who, when we meet them and quiz them on their employment history, tell us that they didn’t feel it necessary to put X company onto their CV because they were only there for a short time – big mistake! Every bit of experience counts. Leaving out a job history, even if it was only a few weeks/months is a bad idea. When it is discovered (and it will be discovered) that you worked for company X, your reason for leaving, your transparency as an applicant and your integrity will all be questioned.
You might think it looks like you were job hopping or quitting by leaving that company, and you don’t want to put a mark on your otherwise impeccable job history, but leaving areas blank, or worse still, pretending you worked at the company before company X for that little bit longer, is just plain lying on your CV. Many companies will check your previous employment dates, or you might run into someone you worked with at that company and they may mention something to your current boss, etc. If you are found out, your new employer may even go as far as wanting to dismiss you. That job, no matter how short, is a part of your personal history.
Remember to say why you left
Always state your reason for leaving each role as this really helps to paint a proper picture of how you got to be where you are today. If the reason was negative then try to put a positive spin on it rather than playing the blame game.
Don’t leave out the extra curricular stuff
If you use special software packages in your job, put these on your cv. If you work with Microsoft excel, state that you can do v-lookups/pivot tables etc. If you have special achievements such as making the Dean’s Merit List/Golden Key Society, prefect, awards, etc., make sure to mention these – this is your opportunity to stand out.
Do leave out the flowery stuff
Cut out the paragraphs of soft skill descriptions. Saying that you are ‘hardworking, loyal, easygoing, deadline driven’, etc., is not going to help you get the interview. These are soft skills that are hard to prove and are seen as just an opinion of yourself, nobody really takes this part of your CV seriously. If you have proof that you are, say, deadline driven and see this as your top skill, then by all means say so on your CV but back it up with a solid real life example to prove it and make it tangible.
Creating a winning CV takes time and effort. It’s not something you can or should rush so make sure you allocate enough time to be able to do it properly.