Don’t forget the Basics
We’re told on good authority that the most irritating thing for an employer vis-à-vis the CV is to not be able to see the basics at first glance. Name, Address, Email and Phone Number are all standard. Some prefer to give a location as opposed to a full address. North London may suffice but the employer will want to see this. Beyond this, a Skype contact, showreel or portfolio link. A link to LinkedIn can be handy to see more about an individual professionally.
Do consider Layout and Font
Always ensure that your CV is clear. Some advise no more than 2 pages in length but for others, this may not be possible. If you genuinely have had a 20 year+ career then it may be necessary to list this. However, pages and pages of great details about personal interests or bullet points from what duties you carried out in roles which may be less relevant and similar to other job’s you’ve had will just clog up the page. Ensure the font is at least a 12 point and there are some spaces and layout consideration to make it easier to read. A mass of text in tiny letters won’t incite anyone’s interest.
Do Ensure the Correct Order
The correct order for a CV is to have the most relevant work and achievements at the top. No one wants to sift through pages and pages or lines of text to actually discover where you’re at now. Reading about what you did 5, 10+ years ago in the opening line will likely not be as impressive as what you are doing to date.
Don’t Tell Your Life Story
Some people like cats but is it imperative that your prospective employer knows this? No. If you’re a graduate, like the rest of us, you probably went to a kindergarten, followed by a primary school as a child, then to a high school and college all before university. The important bit here is that you graduated with whatever grade it is in whatever field you specialised in. No need to list every educational body that helped you get to that point, nor a list of every qualification from younger years and what grade you achieved for each. If your highest level of education is high school itself it will suffice to say 10 GCSE’s or 4 A-Levels at grades A*-B.
Do Highlight your Strengths
It’s highly likely that you have a good idea of where your strengths generally lie. However, in a CV there are certain sections like education, professional qualifications and experience that you have to keep. With this in mind, there’s no need to go and scrap any parts of your relevant experience that are perhaps weaker than others. Instead, try highlighting the things you feel you have done well, within the previously mentioned sections. Many state what they actually do, eg Joe Bloggs, Project Manager. Others may prefer to list greater strengths in bullet point fashion or actually highlight in the text.
Don’t Use Buzzwords
Nearly everyone who is eligible to work in the UK has a CV; this means that there are going to be some that are more impressive than others. Conversely, this also means that there are going to be some (thousands in fact) that look exactly the same. Over time an agreed language has built up that are mostly adjectives. Avoid using ‘enthusiastic’ ‘flexible’ and ‘multi-tasker’. These are not role-specific and are just generic. You will bore any potential employers.
Do Use a Professional Font
Most people, when constructing their CVs will be used to using Microsoft Word. If this is the case you’re going to have a plethora of fonts available to you and it can all seem a bit unnecessary. It should go without saying novelty fonts like Magneto; Jack the Ripper and Olde English Text MT should almost definitely always be avoided. Also, even one you think might be okay like Comic Sans is still not great. Keep it clean and crisp with Arial or Calibri and watch the interviews stack up. NB: Never mix fonts.
Another one that might seem obvious initially but you’d be surprised how many people do it is lying. This extends to whatever your definition of ‘bending the truth’ is. Employers want the right person for the job and it’s their task to scrutinise CVs thoroughly. You might get your foot in the door, so to speak, but it will soon become apparent if you have falsified information when you get quizzed (and you will) on it during the interview stage.
Do Include References
I’d say this one is more aimed at the younger readers. It can be tempting to state: ‘references upon request’ at the bottom of the CV to save time but it is not something you should get into the habit of. Not including references can sometimes lead employers to think you don’t have any. They are a perfect way for those considering you to cut through the noise and contact someone who can give an account of your character. It makes for a more efficient process. If you do add referee’s details to the CV make sure their email address is a professional (company) address so it can be verified.
The exception to the rule being when your contract includes a non-disclosure clause/agreement. The caveat, therefore, if information is sensitive in any way or if a confidentiality agreement may be present then a referee listed may not be permissible. If in doubt, we urge you to check beforehand.
Don’t Do an Introduction
An opening paragraph about you isn’t really the way forward and whilst it’s nice for the employer to get a flavour of what you’re all about, these can be irrelevant and pointless. Similar to the big no-no on buzzwords, this is all about keeping your CV concise and clear. All that ‘enthusiastic young worker, experienced in time management and independent work’ stuff isn’t going to cut it against other, better CVs.
Do Create an Introduction
Okay so if you absolutely have to do an introduction, make it about your specific experience. This means including the literal things you have done that make you impressive and unique. Something along the lines of ‘senior sales advisor with evidence of targets met and exceeded, at request’. This gives them the opportunity to contact you for information regarding your eligibility and also creates a direct dialogue between you and the employer.
If you’ve prepared enough and your CV is a glowingly efficient documentation of all of your relevant capabilities and experiences then I would say you can relax. Crafting a CV is important but it’s also just as important to remember that there is no perfect design. There’s no secret formula or algorithm that allows you to produce perfection in terms of Curriculum Vitae writing, so please, don’t stress about it too much, your best is enough.
All in all, CVs are the agreed format of self-advertisement in the UK and abroad, and having one tweaked to near-perfection will completely create the perfect foundation for you to have a long and fruitful career. There is no substitute for a good CV.
Do Create a Profile on The Job Auction
You can list self-advertisement reaching potential employers, list your skills and even auction your own skills so that people can bid on you as a worker. Make money today. It’s totally free to create a profile, you can add photos, links and more (depending on package), so what are you waiting for – market yourself today! Everyone has Skills To Pay The Bills.
Do Get on The Job Auction > CV Clinic if You Need More Help
Do you feel that you need help with the job application process? – be it CV, interview experience, dress code or general advice, you can purchase one of our CV Clinic packages and help #BoycottUnemployment today.
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