First impressions still count. Even in today’s fast paced, digital world, the first step you take in landing the right role for you is the most critical – prepare your CV!
Make sure you take these important guidelines into account particularly if you haven’t been in the job market for a while. Even if you have, it’s important to check your CV is sharp, meaningful and represents you best.
A clear list of your personal details: name, address, contact details (including LinkedIn profile address, Twitter Handle if relevant), education, qualifications.
Reverse chronology of your CV is still the way to present your employment/professional history starting with your current position. Include the month & year you started and finished different roles – including roles with the same employer (if relevant to you), and of course, the roles you’ve had with different employers.
Design & Layout
Clear, clean, lots of white space, simple fonts, short sentences. These factors are crucial. Use bullet points over
paragraphs. Don’t attempt to sound clever with unnecessary complex words or syntax. Remember, simplicity will have maximum impact. Spell check – every time. After you spell check it, have someone else give it a quick “reality check” to make sure that the spell checker didn’t miss anything and to make sure that you didn’t make a mistake that your computer can’t catch. It is important that you get a second set of eyes to look over the document that could be responsible for your next job.
Provide a brief description of the company at the start of each job listed. Include key responsibilities & achievements with that role, including how you added value to the organisation. Provide a brief reason as to why you left the role/employer, don’t leave anything to chance. And remember, honesty always.
Keywords are Key
When an employer searches a database, they use keywords. In general, they expect the results to be representative of what they are searching for. This should mean a couple of things to the CV writer: Include relevant keywords in your CV, because this is how you will be found. Don’t stuff your CV with keywords that are not relevant of your experience. A list of keywords that do not represent your expertise should be avoided.
Following your professional history, provide additional details of your education and qualifications. Consider university, on-the-job training, post-university qualifications and industry based development but only include the training you’ve received relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Provide the details of two or three past employers who are willing advocates of your expertise.
Have Multiple Versions
If you are in more than one role (or have skills that may fit more than one role) you should have multiple versions of your CV available that highlight those skills. For example, if you have years of experience as a software engineer, and also have project management expertise, have two CV’s: one highlighting your software engineer experience and another highlighting your project management experience.
Make Your CV Viewable
Recruiters and hiring managers like to search and “source” for candidates. If your CV (or bio) is not someplace where an employer can find it, then they don’t know you exist. In addition to the regular job boards, consider posting your CV on personal web pages, as well as networking tools.
The cover letter must be short, clear and relevant to the role you’re applying for. It must also give a brief insight into the industry, the success factors key to the role and a measured enthusiasm in relation to both the job and the organisation.