Your CV is often the first communication a potential employer will see, and may be the only chance for you to get to interview. Therefore it’s crucial that you get it right.
We’ve teamed up with the experts in Danbro’s HR team to give you our top tips.
- Keep it short and sweet, the most successful applicants have CVs no longer than two pages of A4.
- If printing out your CV, make sure it is printed on a clean piece of white paper.
- Going for a creative role? Don’t be scared to try something different and tailor your CV to the industry.
- Don’t lie! A common misconception is that you will get away with it…Spoiler alert, you won’t! Sell yourself on the skills you have, not on the skills you think you need.
- Keep your CV updated. Add new experiences and skills whenever you can, to increase your chances of standing out.
- Make sure you read the job specification thoroughly – if the role you’re applying for has stipulations, make sure you list the required qualifications (if you have them!).
- Be mindful of the font used – your CV needs to be easy to read. Also, be consistent…especially if listing ‘attention to detail’ in your personal statement.
- Double check your spelling! Spellcheck is fantastic but sometimes a few mistakes can slip through the net. Also, check your grammar and punctuation – check use of apostrophes, capitals and Americanised spelling before hitting that send button! For example, strictly speaking, it should be GCSEs or G.C.S.Es (plural) not GCSE’s (possessive).
This is where all the important stuff goes, like your name, contact number and email. Don’t forget to include your Linkedin URL too – make sure you sign up if you’ve not already – Linkedin is a great networking tool. Obviously don’t include your Facebook or Twitter, unless it’s relevant of course!
This is the time to really sell yourself. State what job you’re applying for and why you’re applying for it. Provide a few sentences or bullet points detailing your relevant skills and experience for the role. This can be expanded upon in greater detail within the Employment and Skills/Qualifications sections of your CV.
Many will make the mistake of trying to include every little achievement, but remember that the recipient will probably have a mountain of other CVs to peruse. So, although it is important not to hide your light under a bushel, you probably shouldn’t brag about your cycling proficiency, or that orienteering badge from Scouts – again, unless it’s relevant of course!
Like Education, start from your most recent job and work backwards, providing your job title, the organisation you worked for and the years you worked in the position.
Include key skills and achievements that relate to the role you’ve applied for. And keep an eye on tense (if you no longer work in the role use past tense, if you currently work in the role use present).
Remember that this can include skills gained either inside or outside of work. If the skills can be related to the job you’re applying for, or give you an edge over other candidates, they might just be worth including.
Personally, my ability to multitask has strengthened massively since becoming a mum, so don’t be scared to draw on skills gained outside of the workplace, especially if you’ve had a career break.
Do you volunteer, or captain a five a side football team? Hobbies and interests can show people that you’re dedicated, motivated or passionate, without you even realising it.
And while you might think a potential employer doesn’t want to hear about your winning pub quiz team, ‘Let’s Get Quizzical’, it can show you’re a well-rounded person, as well as a good team player. For this reason, I’d try to focus on hobbies which involve others, rather than solitary ones.
If you’re reaching two pages, to save space simply write ‘References available upon request.’ If your finalised CV is around one and a half pages, provide full details of two references (one being your last employer). And if don’t have a previous employer, teachers or college tutors can act as referees.