It’s that time of year now: Spring. The weather picks up and things are brighter. In theory anyway. In Belfast it is more likely the time when you can have snow in the morning and have your shorts on by lunchtime. You think about cleaning out your attic, your car, garage and even your office desk but what about your C.V? Even if you are not actively applying or seeking a new role you should try to keep your CV fresh and up to date. It is an important roadmap of where you are in your career and a reminder of where you’ve been and where you want to go. At Distil we place real value on ‘the candidate experience’ and our very first piece of advice to anybody would be to make sure you give the best representation of yourself on your C.V.
Recent studies have shown that typically recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds before making an initial “fit or no fit” decision and with 80% of the total time recruiters spend reading a CV focused on a handful of key areas (names, current title, company, current position start/end dates, previous title/company, previous position start/end dates, and education) it’s essential that your CV is clear, concise and easy to read.
Your C.V should follow a framework that makes the most of the content you have to offer. When was the last time you updated your CV? Tidying up, editing details with your most recent employment information, making sure that it’s in correct order, cutting out irrelevant information? Your CV should be kept fresh and your career put in reverse chronological order, with your current role first and responsibilities detailed. Here are a few tips on how to spruce up your CV and make sure it is as good as it should be.
Keep it clean!
By clean I mean easy to read and laid out properly. My biggest tip here is to always prepare your CV with the audience in mind – consider what this audience is immediately looking for. Your C.V should highlight the most important aspects of your skills and experience. The recruiter should be able to ‘scan’ your CV in order to match your skills against the job specification they are matching it to. It should be concise and no longer than 2 pages.
“A visually-appealing two-page CV will be easier on the eye than a mega-condensed one-page version. Your CV has a matter of seconds to impress, so there just isn’t time for eye strain,” says Lis McGuire, CV writer and founder of Giraffe CVs.
Cut the Clutter!
Pick and be selective about the elements of your career that will grab the target employer’s attention and set the CV around this. Examine the job spec or do some research about a particular company you are applying to and highlight where you fit the bill for their key areas.
“Don’t include everything you’ve ever worked on, or it will result in a cluttered, messy C.V. If part of your experience is worth singing about, bring it to the top in a relevant experience section,” says McGuire.
Your CV is a marketing tool that is designed to present you in the strongest, most compelling light. In terms of what to leave out, I’d say leave out any red herrings that distract the reader from the message you are trying to get across. Every element of your CV should have a clear purpose.
Mind the Gaps!
Try not to have CV gaps in your Career history. We notice these things! Honestly, we do! Try to account for any employment breaks in a positive way. State the voluntary work, qualification or the learning initiative that you were doing. Putting in the detail upfront removes the need to ask questions later and nips any doubts in the recruiters mind in the bud.
You do You!
Start off your C.V with a personal statement. Think of this as a ‘Mission Statement’. This is the headline part of your C.V, it’s important to put across your enthusiasm and personality fit for the role you’re applying to. Show your values, passions, experience and how your skill-set is directly related to the job. When changing your career you should show your interest, your transferrable skills and how they directly relate to the job or new industry you’re looking to get into. Remember you are trying to sell yourself, so you must write it in a compelling manner to catch the agencies and employers attention to read it!!!
Furthermore your C.V should be laid out well and written in a striking, concise, purposeful manner that sums up the key reasons why you are a worthwhile candidate for the job you’re looking to get into. Your C.V should be a document that highlights your skills, education, achievements, activities, interests and who you are as a person. Should be kept tidy, up to date be continually improving and be the best representation of you for employment. For further information, or any help with the layout and structure of your CV, please contact Distil recruitment directly, or e-mail me on email@example.com.