Monday, 23 April 2012

Creating a good CV


What do potential employers look for from a candidate?

Try to think about this objectively from an employer's point of view and tailor your CV to suit each job you apply for.  The layout is the main thing that will make an employer want to read on or be scared off by a wall of text.  Clearly detail your employer, your title and duties. 

Use relevant key words from the job spec to make your skills stand out.  A prospective employer will always look at what you can bring to their team/ company.  If you have worked with clients directly add a list of clients and their industries to your CV, it will help build a picture of the level of clientele you can handle.     

What should a CV contain?

Your CV is what agencies and employers alike will use as a basis for whether or not they want to invest time and effort in exploring your skills further.  
  • A good template for a CV is to start with your contact details.  Obvious I know, but essential.  Detail your telephone no. and email.  If you aren't happy providing your full address name the town or city you live in instead.
  • Next a brief profile about you and your key strengths, which direction you see your career taking and how that would benefit a prospective employer.  
  • Follow on with your education most recent first e.g. Masters or Degree with grade obtained, down to high school qualifications.
  • Then your chance to shine with your employment history, again starting with your most recent first as this will allow them to see your current level of expertise.  It is vital your experience is laid out clearly highlighting your skills and duties without too much "waffling".  Don't be scared to sell yourself by adding any awards you may have won, key achievements or contributions that have lead to a positive outcome for the company.  
  • Your additional skills should follow detailing your computer literacy, programs you are competent with, any foreign languages you speak and to what level and any other information that will add value to a prospective employer's organisation.
  • Lastly add your hobbies and interests.  This helps build a picture about your personality and can also be a good talking point at interviews if you share common interests.

What to avoid in a CV

  • Include a photograph - This may be a negative rather than a positive, best to let your skills be judged on their own merit.
  • Get too personal, employers don't need to know about your dog being sick on holiday!
  • Overdo it with fancy fonts, and colours.
  • Waffle needlessly, stick to the point.
  • Make mistakes.  ALWAYS spell check your CV, if you're not too hot with grammar get a second opinion before sending it off.

How to stand out  

Use bullet points to list your skills, duties and achievements.  This breaks up the text and allows easier reading.  Your CV is a sales tool so list features and benefits of your skills and experience.  

Tailoring your CV

CV's are very general as you want to try and maximise all your skills.  It is a good idea when applying for a particular role to "tweak" your CV highlighting your relevant skills for the role.  Expand on a project that centred on a relevant industry or detail more clients you worked with that would be similar in your prospective role.  Any other information that can be seen as a link between what you have done and what you will be able to offer a future employer is worth adding. 

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