10 September 2019 | Career Advice | Guest Author
When a potential employer glances at a newly-received CV, it’s usually the first time they’ll have heard anything about the candidate in question. So that piece of paper is a candidate’s chance to make the perfect first impression. There are plenty of guidelines concerning the best way to write and structure a CV, but of course it’s essential that your CV is the one that an employer sits up and takes notice of. Think of your CV as a golden opportunity, and make sure it represents you in the best possible way. Take a look at our top tips on how to write the perfect CV, to make sure your CV is working as hard as you do.
It’s said that the average amount of time an employer will spend looking at a CV is between five and seven seconds. So you don’t have long to catch their attention. Make sure your CV jumps out by adding a captivating introduction.
Many candidates start their CV with a personal statement, and this is a great way to open the page. It’s worth spending some time on this statement, because it needs to tell the employer a lot about you. Introduce yourself in a concise, clear way that explains why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. If you can, personalise this statement every time you send a CV out, so it perfectly fits with the requirements of the role you’re applying for.
Highlight your experience
The main part of the CV should detail your previous experience. List your past roles, with information on the companies that you’ve worked for and the dates that you worked there. Add a few points about the main responsibilities that you had in each role, and include details on any training undertaken.
Make each section as easy to read as possible, as most employers will skim through this information to double check that you have the experience required. If any of your past roles seem irrelevant to the job you’re searching for, it’s perfectly fine to keep details about these brief. But it’s best to still include them, as employers don’t like to see gaps in a CV.
Keep it chronological
An employer won’t have time to decipher a disordered list of past roles and responsibilities, so ensure that information on your past experience is listed in chronological order. Keep the most recent roles at the top, as this is likely to be your most relevant experience. Remember, the more relevant the experience is, the greater the weight it should have on your CV.
If one of your previous positions is more similar to the role you’re applying for, explain this. Go into details about the work you did, and how it sets you in good stead for the job you’re hoping to be offered. Beneath your previous experience you can add information on your education, for example any degrees or courses that you have completed.
Think about your layout
The visual impact of your CV really matters. A messy, disorganised CV is more difficult to read, and can instantly lose an employer’s interest. Focus on designing a great looking document that stands out from other candidates’ submissions. If you’re applying for a role in a creative field, such as graphic design or illustration for example, then the look of your CV is more important still. Concentrate on catching an employers’ eye, and then draw them in with the words they want to see.
End with a few extras
The final section of your CV is your chance to show off any extracurricular achievements you might have. Use this section to detail some hobbies, and add a bit of personality to the page. Tell your prospective employer how you like to spend your free time, and pay particular attention to activities that are relevant to the role. For instance, hobbies like vlogging and blogging are massively beneficial to those applying for marketing roles. Likewise, a fashion or retail application might benefit from information about design projects you’ve undertaken in your free time.
Other activities might not seem as relevant to the job in question, but they may help you to establish a rapport with your interviewer. If you love to raise money for your favourite charity, or you’ve just completed a marathon, make sure you take the opportunity to tell a potential employer about it. If you’re something of a film buff, let them know. If you’re an avid sports fan, that too is worth mentioning. It’s all about showcasing your personality, and explaining what makes you different.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way to write the perfect CV. The ideal CV looks completely different to different employers, and can vary massively depending on the industry and job role in question. However, no matter which role you’re hoping to land, there are a few golden rules that will help you draft a captivating CV that gets an employer’s attention.
Keep your CV clear, concise and chronological. Make it personal, and talk about yourself as well as your previous experience. Think of it as your first introduction to an employer, and use it to explain who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do next. Follow these tips and before long you’ll have written a standout CV that shows exactly why an employer should hire you.
This article was written by Check-a-Salary, a platform dedicated to providing insight on earnings for every position in the UK,