The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Great CV
When you apply for most jobs, you won’t get a chance to meet your potential future employers and colleagues unless they see something special in your curriculum vitae. If your CV doesn’t stand out in just the right way, you’re not going to get an interview, and you’ll have no chance of stunning your interviewers with your personality and range of knowledge and/or experience.
Unfortunately, when creating your CV, you have a few opportunities to stand out in ways that will not gain you an interview but that will take you out of the running for a position that you might have excelled at. So, to ensure that your CV sets you apart from the crowd and makes potential future employers want to meet and interview you, follow these tried and true rules.
Do Tailor Your CV to the Employer and the Job
Now, you don’t have to entirely rewrite your CV for every job application, but you do want to make sure that it’s tailored for the company you’re applying to and the job you’re applying for. Take the time to read the advert for the position you’re seeking. Make note of specific keywords that they use in the job description and make sure to include these naturally in the descriptions you include in your experience and skills on your CV.
Also, take the time to do a little bit of research on the company that you’re applying to work for. Pay attention to the language they use in their ad copy and how they brand themselves. Keep this in mind when writing your cover letter and tailoring your CV to fit them.
Don’t Pad Your CV
If you are just out of school or have been out of the work force for some time, you may not have a lot to include on your CV. It’s tempting to try to pad it with unrelated work experience or by getting overly wordy with descriptions of the work experience and skills that you do have. It’s always better to keep things short and sweet than to be long-winded. Also keep in mind that interviewers look at a lot of CVs every day; they can quickly and easily suss out padding, and your CV could end up in the rubbish bin without much more than a glance if you do this.
Do Put the Most Important Information First
Your potential employer wants to know about your most recent work experience and relevant education first. Because your skills and experience have been building over the years, you give them the best idea of what you bring to the table by putting your most recent relevant experience and education first and then progressing in reverse chronological order down the page.
Employers don’t want to wade through your entire university and work career to get to where you are now. They want to see what you offer now, upfront. If they like what they see there, they’ll be much more likely to keep reading and to invite you in for an interview.
Don’t Go Over 2 Pages
You may have well over 2 pages of experience and education that have brought you to where you are now. That’s great, but if you hand in a tone for a CV, potential employers will not be impressed. In fact, they may not read it at all. Instead, learn to edit out irrelevant information.
If you’re applying for a management position, you don’t have to include all of the years you spent working your way through retail positions. Instead, include leadership positions that prove you have what it takes to do the job at hand.
Finally, once you’ve finished drafting your CV, have a couple of colleagues or friends look it over for you to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, clarity, and overall effect. They might catch a mistake you missed but that an employer would surely see.