A concise, well-structured and informative CV is absolutely crucial for ensuring you make it through to the interview stage of a recruitment process. Most employers make decisions about CVs in a matter of seconds and it takes just a few errors or a lack of information for yours to end up in the wrong pile. So, how do you perfect your CV ahead of job interviews to ensure that you make it through to a face-to-face?
Your CV has roughly eight seconds to work its magic on the person viewing it, so a lengthy tome is going to be almost useless. In terms of your career, focus on the best bits and the headlines, ensuring that everything is relevant to the role you’re applying for – you don’t need to tell your entire career history.
Say why you’re the best person for the job
You may think that the skills and experience in your CV make it clear why you’re the best person for the job but a potential employer may not make the same links. A personal statement is a short, direct paragraph that sets out exactly why you are the ideal candidate, making the connection in case the employer hasn’t.
Make sure your CV is up to date
You’re wasting a huge opportunity if your CV doesn’t have all your most recent experience on. Employers tend to be suspicious if all the experience listed is old and out of date so take the time to keep your CV up to date. You’ll also need to explain any gaps in your career timeline – find a positive way to illustrate time spent on something that wasn’t work and why this has been valuable to your development and growth in the long run.
Yes you should always use your CV to reflect the best possible version of everything you’ve achieved. However, embellishing or lying about what you’ve done and what you’re capable of just means you’re likely to get caught out at interview or when your references are checked.
Don’t be that person…
… who ends up in the “no” pile simply because they didn’t check the spelling. Employers will always be put off by spelling and grammar errors so it’s just not worth letting such unnecessary mistakes slip through the net.
If your CV is online, include keywords
If your CV contains keywords that are relevant to the sector you work in and the role that you’re looking for then you’re much more likely to get employers coming to you.
Make your CV stand out
There are a number of ways you can do this, including identifying any statistics, figures or other ways of quantifying what you’ve achieved to give your CV more credibility. Remember that the CV needs to look good and flow easily so pay attention to paragraphing, use bullet points and apply a little bit of graphic design so the end result is professional and easy to understand.
Your CV is the key to the door of the interview room so don’t neglect it. With a great CV you’ll be able to increase the opportunities that are available to you and find that dream role. Take a look at our Half Day Masterclass in Brushing up your CV Writing and Interview Skills for more tips.