How to guide: Completing CVs
Applying for endless jobs can feel in many ways soul destroying. You may have to spend quite a while perfecting that CV and long winded application form, so below are a few tips regarding CVs (application forms and interview techniques to follow), which will help to ease your strife.
CVs come in many formats containing; skills profiles, personal statements, personal details including height and weight, references attached, colourful, different fonts, pretty boarders and even with the picture of the candidate attached. My suggestion is to always keep it simple, but professional. Apply your judgement to gauge what effect your CV and the contents will have upon the potential audience. Put yourself in the employers shoes; what would you think of your own CV if you were them.
1)Your CV is all about the quick sale: You have to draw the employer’s eye to your CV; to do this you must have your skills and experience where they will see it within a few seconds of scanning the document. Bear in mind that on this document you have to let an employer know everything which is relevant to the job you are applying for. Therefore your skills or experience profile should match what they want from a candidate. To do this reflect back on what you have done, and what skills were required; use Google if you’re unsure where to begin IE ‘the skills required for clerical officer’. This should either provide skills profiles or job descriptions, to help jog your memory.
2) One size does not fit all for a CV: Every time you apply for a new job, change the details of your skills and tailor them specifically to the role. Ideally you want to be listing your most relevant qualifications and work history, not everything you have ever done. The remainder can be referred to under a separate section such as ‘additional information’. When it comes to listing your education and work history always work from the most recent backwards, and keep details of certificates and duties to the point (don’t ramble). You can always elaborate upon your most recent job by adding that extra bit of detail in, so they can get a feel for what you have done most recently in a more robust fashion.
3) Omit the personal details: Other than your contact and home address, because of equal opportunities it should mean that your age and ethnicity are not important; unless specifically asked for by the employer directly. It also saves important space. So too does not adding in your references; ‘references can be supplied’ is sufficient. Also check your contact email address; anything odd or rude and employers see it as unprofessional.
4) Check and double check for errors: One grammatical mistake or spelling error will automatically discount you from the running. This has been said before I am sure, but I have seen so many applications without this care and consideration it seems the point is worth making again. Also, don’t ramble (as above). I may ramble when I am producing a post for WordPress, but this is not a job application. Employers want pertinent and succinct info which isn’t repeated in one form or another. Also, check the meanings of words if you are unsure of; sounds obvious but these simple errors won’t show up on spell checkers. Ensure to you have the dates of your employment and education matching up, so employers cannot question a huge gap between X and Y. You can account for any gaps in the ‘additional information’ section.
5) Keep it short and sweet: The CV is best when it is the max of 2 sides of A4 and printed out on good quality paper. I know it sounds impossible, but if I can do it with the amount of jobs I have had, anyone can. It is the case of being succinct; cutting out repetition and waffle, but keeping in the quality.
6) Include a cover letter: Cover letters should be professional and drawn up as you would a business letter; employers address and your address, date and Dear…….you get the picture I am sure. Also remember if you are addressing the letter to IE Mr Black, sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’ otherwise it is ‘Yours faithfully’. Keep this letter to the point too and match your skills to their needs. Highlight your experience in the letter and break down sections into bullet points to be more eye catching. Don’t repeat yourself here either; anything you have included within the CV IE skills and experience wise, don’t add into this letter. Make it fresh and include different, but relevant info. Also, don’t use any slang such as ‘thanks’; ‘I thank you for your time and consideration’ sounds better and is professional.
7) Oh, and to return to the inclusion of a personal photo upon your CV; it maybe something done quite frequently in certain sectors and also in some countries. I know it was the norm in Spain and also a few other EU nations too, but in the UK, we tend not to do this. Do some online research first though if you’re not sure. A CV is supposed to be in many ways about a sort of anonymity and equal opps, so whether you are a Greek God or not it doesn’t really matter. Employers should always be reading your application with a view to interview you based upon your skill strength; not your bodily strength. Also a photo can be the cause of a good laugh in the office; I know because I have laughed. If you do include a photo make it a professional one, not your Facebook profile pic or lazing outside in the sun (I have seen these photos on CVs); hence the laughing. It isn’t professional and it won’t illicit a professional response, again, hence my laughing.
Hope this helps give you some ideas to improve your own CVs. Any questions regarding your CV, ask and I am willing to tell all.