As a seeker, you may find yourself in a situation struggling to attract an employer’s attention. This is why you need to ensure your CV stands out from all the rest of the applicants to boost your chances when the employer shortlists candidates for the interview stage. When writing your CV, it is important that you include your contact details, employment history, education and qualifications, experience and any skills, achievements or references that you may have. Find some tips here on what to do to improve your CV, along with some of our best CV samples.
What can I do to improve my CV?
When you’re writing your CV it is imperative that you are honest when including information about yourself, because if you have been untruthful on your CV you will easily be caught out at the interview stage or during the application process. Some other areas which would be good to take note of includes the styling, language, layout and spelling and punctuation, as this will be judged by your potential employer.
Make your CV relevant to the job are applying for
If you’re looking to apply for a specific vacancy, then tailoring your CV to that vacancy can make you look more of an appealing candidate to the employer. This is because from an employer’s perspective your CV will be looking to tick off all the boxes in terms of the requirements and skills needed to perform well. However, ensure you still focus on genuine experience, skills and interests.
If you don’t have any experience in the field of a particular industry, you will likely be able to think of some skills you developed in other situations which could be useful to the type of work you are applying for. These are called transferable skills. For example, if your last job was as a waiter or waitress, you might have become more organised and able to manage your time more efficiently. These can be applied to the day-to-day role of a PA as well, so you might be able to highlight how these skills will come in handy if you receive an offer.
Make sure your CV is easy to read and understand
Your cover letter is there to allow you to go into detail about how you will be a good match for the job for which you are applying. This means you can use the precious space on your CV to include all details about relevant skills experience and education. A good CV is clear and easy to digest, so it may be better to break this information down into bullet points, instead of chunks of text.
It is normally a good idea to fit your CV onto one piece of paper, as your potential employer may have to get through hundreds of applications, and you want to make sure they can read the important information as quickly as possible. However, if you feel that you simply cannot fit all relevant details onto one page, it is better to split the contents into two pages, rather than overcrowd the space making it difficult to read.
The upper middle area of the first page of your CV is where your recruiter’s eye naturally falls first, so use the space well by placing the most important content here.
Make your interests work to your advantage
Including personal interests on your CV is an excellent way to let your potential employer know a little bit about your personality, which is useful for them to see how you might fit into the team prior to meeting you. But this section can work to your advantage as well. As we mentioned above, any interests relevant to the job would definitely help to get your passion across.
Even if this isn’t the case, ensure you include interests that demonstrate that you have good personal skills. If you play team sports this is a good way to show your willingness to work in a group. Try not to include passive activities like watching TV, or hobbies which can let people perceive you as having weak social skills. Show yourself in the best light possible, do be honest, and convey your personality as an interesting one.
It is important to make sure the format of a CV is clear, reads well and looks neat. Your CV should be presented on fresh white paper which is not creased. Prior to your interview, it is a good idea to print out a few copies, staple them if needed, and buy a stiff A4 wallet to keep them in so they remain flat. You can take this with you to your interview in case you need to provide a copy or use it as a reference when speaking.
Examples of good CVs for specific roles
If you would like more information on what to look for in a CV, take a look at some of our sample CVs for specific job roles below: