How To Write Your First CV.
Searching for that first job can be a daunting process, but with a strong CV at your disposal, securing an interview could be easier than you think. With a bit of time and effort, it’s is a straight forward enough task once you know how. Get it right, and your inbox could be lighting up with job offers. Get it wrong however, and your CV will end up straight in the Junk Mail.
The perfect CV will put your skills centre stage, showcasing your experience and attributes. Tailoring your skills to the job you’re applying to shows that you’ve carefully considered your suitability for the role, and shows the employer how closely aligned you are with their needs.
With the help from the experts at Education Executive (https://edexec.co.uk/ten-tips-for-writing-the-perfect-cv/) and the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/getting-job/top-tips-for-writing-a-perfect-cv-8682884.html), we’ve compiled some tips of trade that should set you in the right direction.
Back to Basics
Let’s start with the basics. First and foremost, your CV needs structure. Many people overlook the importance of this, but as your CV will be amongst the first things a potential new employer reads about you, it represents the all important introduction. First, you should include your personal information, education and qualifications. Next up is work history and experience, and the skills which are relevant to the job in question. Lastly, your personal interests, achievements and hobbies, as well as those all important references. Stick to the basics and you can’t got wrong.
The Importance of Presentation
Any CV worth its salt will be presented clearly and attentively. This may sound like the boring bit, but it could make all the difference. When formatting your CV, keep things consistent. I’m talking bullet points, fonts, spacing and spelling. If the presentation isn’t up to scratch, the content will be overlooked. It is a good idea to use assertive and positive language when describing your work experience. Words such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved” carry extra weight when describing yourself.
Two Pages Should Do It
It’s important to remember that recruiters receive many CVs at a time. Whilst it’s important to stand out from the crowd, overdoing it risks losing your audience. It’s best to keep things clear and concise. Save the extra detail for the cover letter, or better yet: the interview. It’s important to get your point across without rambling on; a valuable skill in itself. Any more than 2 pages, regardless of experience, is overdoing it. Quality over quantity is key when it comes to presenting your relevant skills, as recruiters often make up their mind about a CV in only a few short minutes.
Read The Job Description, Then Read It Again
Getting to grips with the various aspects of the role, and what would be expected of you, is crucial. Making notes or bullet points allows you to identify what makes you suitable for the role, and helps with articulating your key attributes. This is your chance to highlight how suitable you’d be for the role, and to address any areas you may feel weaker. It’s important to demonstrate how the skills you have are transferable to the new position.
Adapt Your CV To The Role
Sadly, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all CV. Every application requires a CV carefully adapted to the requirements of the role. After identifying how you match the requirements of the role, it’s time to address them directly. You don’t have to start again from scratch each time, but it is crucial that a potential employer sees how you’ve considered the relevance of your skills in relation to the position advertised.
List Your Skills
Now it’s time to list those all important key skills. This allows the recruiter to paint a picture of your character. Sure, you may have all the grades and experience, but a little insight in to your competencies go a long way. This can include your teamwork skills, your language skills, communication or computer skills; anything to help you stand out. This might require a fair bit of thought, as often it’s easy to overlook things that may be beneficial. Don’t hold back; everything is relevant.
List Your Interests
Whilst it would be tempting to list everything here, from long walks on the beach, to your stamp collection, this is instead an opportunity to outline the things employers look for in a candidate. This is a great opportunity to show examples where you’ve demonstrated initiative, teamwork or leadership. Positions of responsibility go down very well, so ‘captain of the football team’ will stand out. While you’re at it, try to show off your diversity and range of skills, and how they relate to the job you’ve applied to.
For your reference, you should pick someone who has employed you in the past, and worked with you closely enough to offer a good assessment of your character, skills and experience. If you’ve never worked before, it’s perfectly acceptable to use a teacher as a referee.
Keep your CV Up To Date
Aside from tailoring a CV to each new application, it’s important to continuously review and update your CV on a regular basis. Adding new skills and experiences as they happen allow you to record these developments in the most accurate manner. Candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience are the ones that stand out.