12 Top CV Tips
In the first part of the JGB Guide to CV's we give 12 top tips to getting your CV right.
Part one – 12 Top CV Tips.
Think about what you are opening yourself up to:
If you are of interest to an employer they may well decide to check out your online presence. Take 5 minutes and Google yourself, what comes up? Is it all good? Make sure your Linkedin profile says the same as the CV you have just sent them, make sure that anything personal on Facebook or whatever social media channels you use is locked down and clean. Remember if you can find the video clip of what happened at that Christmas party 2 years ago, so can an employer!
Short, sharp and to the point:
Usually a CV should be no more than 2 pages of A4 paper. But consider that the average read time is a scan of 20 – 30 seconds, so you need to be clear and concise with your layout. Bullet points are a good way make things easier to digest. Print it out and glance read it. Are all your salient points there to be seen by a casual reader? If not change it.
Proof read as well as spell check:
“During my time at Global Multicore I was complemented on increasing sails 40 % threw my hard work.” Nothing wrong with that says Mr Computer! Getting somebody else to read through what you have written is a must. It is astonishing what your eye will miss if you know what it is supposed to say.
Get the order right:
Will go into this in depth in the next part, but long gone are the days of putting your academic qualifications first, these days you should, after your name, go straight in to a personal profile or personal statement. Employers want to be able to work out the kind of person you are as much as possible, given that they are likely going to receive a plethora of CV's with very similar qualifications and seemingly little to choose from them on that alone, your personal statement is your main way of standing out.
Talking of personal statements:
When writing this, take these things into account: Consider your achievements rather than responsibilities.Try to avoid obvious CV clichés and and let the text flow as naturally as possible. Once again, brevity and succinctness are the order of the day, try and 'sell yourself' in under 5 lines, you can go into depth further into your CV if you need to.
Hit your target:
You should go over your CV every-time you apply for a job and change the content specifically to the application, tailoring the text should become second nature. Generic CV's will not show you at your best and can look like you are not that interested, and, after all, if you expect the company to treat you like an individual, you should treat them the same.
Seriously, don't lie:
Putting yourself in good light is one thing, out and out blatant lies is another, just don't do it. These things will always come back to bit you on the backside. Vagueness is also a CV crime. If you have a 2.2 degree, then put that, leave it vague and an employer is more likely to think you got a third than a first!
Think about the keywords:
This is mainly for submitting your CV online, but it is really relevant. Recruiters use search terms when looking for applicants, so your CV needs to include all things that you are looking for in a direct way – 'Middleweight Graphic Designer' for example, directly written is going place you higher in results than 'Design skills to a middleweight level'.
Mention specific computer skills:
Right, first off no one cares that you can use internet explorer or safari. If you can’t then you shouldn’t be allowed out in public on your own. What they do care about is relevant skill sets. You remember all that time you spent using SPSS at university? Unless you are in a research role it would have been better spent in the union bar. What we need is relevance. If it is a tech role, and I am not a tech recruiter so I am no expert, make sure all of the detail is there. Advanced (add program here) etc. Make sure you have all of the Microsoft functions labelled specifically. Particularly Excel - everyone loves Excel. If you have macros and pivot tables mention it! Don’t say advanced Excel if you only use it to work out your monthly bills. You will be found out. I am only joking but remember what I said previous, people search for words on CVs . If they need macros, you have macros but they aren’t on your CV it won’t come up in a search! Oh, also, do a typing test. Put your typing speed in!
Keep it up to date:
It easy to forget when something cool work wise has happened, so write down any work achievements etc, as soon as they happen and 1: you won't forget it, 2: your CV will be a lot less hassle to update when you need it!
Make it compatible:
Consider the format that you send it out in, if it is a Word document, there is no harm in sending it as an older .doc rather than .docx – just in case the company you are sending to has old software, and cannot open the .docx file. PDF's are great from the point of view of compatibility but not good in terms of search engines, so don't use them for ANY online submissions. Try to avoid Microsoft Works or Apple Pages files, as these create specific files that most people cannot open.
Are your interests interesting?
Really, putting that you like eating, going out and reading isn't saying anything – you might as well put you enjoy breathing and being conscious! Again, this section should be about what makes you different and distinct from the rest, if you do something interesting then put it, if not maybe leave this section out. Also, you DO NOT like Travelling! That makes it look like you are going to up and leave in 6 months! Never mention supporting a specific team! What if you are a Spurs Fan and the employer is Arsenal? or worse - Man United / Man city!
In the next part, we will give you a full breakdown of how to layout your CV, plus a free template to download!