We have shared several tips on how to write an effective CV in the past. There is always room for improvement. Besides, given the current competitive job market, you need to keep working hard to make your CV more effective. In this post, we are going to share tips on writing a perfect CV.
How to Write a Perfect CV
By Mian Azhar
Your CV will often be your first opportunity to impress a prospective employer. It’s likely to form their initial impression of you, so it’s vital to get it right. If you are finding that you are not progressing past the CV stage, you may want to consider a bespoke online CV service to discuss how to optimize your CV. Here are some general tips to consider to improve your chances of getting your dream job.
Before You Start
Before you start Make sure you read the job spec carefully so that you can tailor your CV for the role to which you are applying. It’s tempting to create one CV for general use, but this is much less likely to be successful. With this in mind, look at the skills that are being sought in the job spec, and see if you can refer to these in your CV.
For example, if the job spec lists “Good communication skills” as a requirement, make sure you list relevant previous employment that helped you develop this skill.
If required, you could also add an explanation. Somethign like this:
“Working as a waitress at a local restaurant gave me the opportunity to further develop my communication skills, dealing with customers of different ages and backgrounds and liaising with other staff and suppliers, which also strengthened my team working skills. I learned how to deal effectively with customer complaints, ensuring that they were heard and considered their feelings on the matter to ensure that the situation could be resolved in a satisfactory outcome.“
There are numerous websites that offer free CV templates so have a look to find one that you like. Your CV should be clear and not too fussy, without gimmicks like graphics that can be distracting for the reader. Ideally, the CV should take up no more than two sides of A4 paper. It’s tempting to cram as much as possible on the CV, but put yourself in the employer’s shoes; they’re going to be reading lots of CVs and so you want to make your key skills and experience stand out quickly without requiring them to search for the information. Remember also to use a font that’s easy to read – reading tiny fonts is hard work and likely to irritate the reader!
Generally accepted headings on most CVs include personal details, a personal statement, employment history, education, and hobbies. You can include references at the end (if you do, it’s common courtesy to drop the referee(s) a line seeking their permission), but, if you’re short of space, you can leave these out as the prospective employer will ask for references if appropriate later on in the process.
Many employers also like to see voluntary work on CVs as this often not only aligns with their values but also shows good attributes and development of other skills. If you don’t have any voluntary work experience, think about doing some from the comfort of your own home.
Don’t just list your previous employment or volunteer history – give some brief details about what you did in the role and what skills you developed. Be prepared to be asked about your role and skills in more detail at an interview, so be truthful and don’t get caught out like the finalists on The Apprentice! And remember to list courses or other training, particularly any that may be relevant to the role.
Before you finish
Make sure you read through your CV carefully to check for spelling and grammatical errors; it’s even better to get someone else to do it. Many employers will not look favorably on such basic errors, particularly when candidates are applying for roles where attention to detail or drafting/writing is integral to the role. Think carefully whether a hyphen or apostrophe is needed; the Collins Online Dictionary is a well-regarded source to check to spell and often lists hyphenated words.
Try also to maintain consistency throughout your CV. For example, fonts and alignment of indents; it doesn’t matter whether you finish bullet points with a full stop or not, just as long as you’re consistent at the end of each bullet point. Finally, consider the format in which the CV should be submitted if it’s to be done electronically.
Some organizations use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) as an initial “filter” to scan for keywords, and these may not be picked up from non-Word formats. However, PDF looks much neater and has the added benefit that the document’s history cannot be tracked. A compromise might be that, once the CV is finalized, it is copied and pasted into a fresh Word document with no previous history.
When complete, your CV should look neat, concise, and tailor-made to the job spec. If you can pull this off then you’ll be one step closer to achieving your dream job – good luck!
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