CV Preparation - Impress your reader with your CV in the first few seconds
The purpose of your CV is to impress the reader within the first few seconds. This is the first step in putting your best foot forward and holding the reader’s interest for them to want to continue reading. This is why your CV must be as relevant to the job specification or advertising requirements as much as possible.
Start with a Summary Profile. This will include a statement of your competencies, how you achieve results and how these will benefit the company and role you are applying for.
One approach to this is to write a personal elevator pitch, summarising who you are, what you do and what you are looking for. An elevator pitch should take about 30 seconds to relay to someone while in conversation. Practice it and you’ll always have it ready for interviews and networking situations.
Follow the summary with a brief outline of Key Technical and Soft Skills.
Your Education History will include third level qualifications followed by other qualifications and certification.
At this stage you have caught the reviewer’s attention - well done - they now have a good idea of you and your competencies. It’s time now to provide the reviewer with your professional experience and achievements. This provides more specific insight into how you have achieved the results and re-enforces the information you have provided earlier.
Display your professional career experience in reverse chronological order. Give Company name, title in roles/projects and dates, include months and years.
Describe the results you achieved in your roles giving the reader more insight to your involvement on projects and the results of your input. Give specific examples of projects worked on.
- Introduced the SCRUM agile methodology to development of Business Solutions
- Increased company online performance by getting 56,000 registered users | 28,000 paying subscribers | 3,000+ social media followers
- Implemented effective control procedures. Achieved significant improvements in call response time to 80% of calls being answered in 20 seconds or less.
Use active words to describe what you did to solve problems, (demonstrated, planned, reduced, optimised, accelerated) and use results words to describe how your actions solved the problem (accomplished, eliminated, increased, optimised).
Gaps in your career
If you’ve been lucky enough to have taken time out to pursue further studies or travel, use this as an opportunity to show achievements or skills gained, without providing a travelogue of course.
Formatting, Grammar and Spelling
Microsoft Word is the most common text editors to use and widely used by recruiters – so while making life easy for them – this format also suits most applicant tracking systems – a place where CV formatting can suffer.
Use a simple layout along with commonly used fonts, apply bold for headings and include white space between sections and use bulleted lists, all of which will allow the reviewer a more easily digestible read.
Know how to format text layout using indents, tabs and margins. Avoid hitting the spacebar or hitting the tab key numerous times to align text while it may look like it’s achieving the alignment you want, it certainly won’t save you time, nor will the end result look so pretty especially after it travels through an application tracking system resulting in a “mangled” CV.
Don’t just rely on automatic spell checkers. Read through the text to ensure grammar and spelling is correct, and have someone else review it for you.
Wrap it up
Finally, avoid raising questions in the heads of hiring managers, making sure content is correct and ensure your CV and LinkedIn profile exactly mirror each other. This is one of the main sources for finding out about you used by prospective employers.
Your CV is good to go! Remember, it’s like your visiting card which you hand in to a person who doesn’t know you. Make sure you are happy with the content, format and that it represents you at your very best.