In this digital world, the capacity for candidates to differentiate themselves through an application process is becoming more limited than ever. A well crafted CV is a key component in your career search and one which requires effort and attention to ensure it represents you at an optimal level.
A poorly constructed CV will find you consigned to the regret folder without as much as a second glance, confirming the relevance of the old adage ‘first impressions count’.
Robert Walters Brisbane Director, Sinead Hourigan, outlines a few key tips to creating an attractive and effective CV below.
Length – The length of your CV should be no more than four pages. The document is intended as a brief introduction to your background with further detail to be provided as your application progresses.
Order – Effective CV’s are chronological. All elements from career history to educational attainments should be listed from most recent to oldest. Within the role detail, prioritise the information which is of most relevance to the particular role you are applying for.
Responsibilities and achievements – Ensure you provide detail that is relevant and easily understood. Avoid acronyms or terms that are specific to your employer. Be sure to extend your responsibilities and achievments to explain the value they added as opposed to just a list of tasks without any context. Achievements should be tasks or projects that you undertook that were outside of the general scope of your role which added value to the organisation.
Accuracy – A lack of attention to detail around spelling, grammar and punctuation could undermine all the effort you have put into creating a perfect CV. Always ensure that you get someone else to review your CV at the end to spot-check for any errors. Spell-check doesn’t pick up everything and a fresh pair of eyes will always help. Avoid cliché ridden statements like ‘natural leader’ or ‘highly motivated’, these traits should be demonstrated through your achievements in your CV.
Honesty – Your CV should always reflect what you have actually done, not what you wish you did or thought about doing in any particular role. Don’t embellish your experience or your qualifications. In these days of enhanced data access, any false information will easily be uncovered and will mean that everything else in your CV will be clouded in doubt. If you have gaps in your career history, address them and don’t gloss over them.
Positive – Always remember that your CV is your most important sales tool. It is your opportunity to promote yourself to prospective employers so use positive and enthusiastic language. Use high impact words and examples to prove your achievements and make your CV a compelling read.
Update – Don’t forget, your CV is a living document and needs constant attention. Try and remember to update it every six months so that you don’t forget all the great things you achieved in the preceding period. It’s much easier to take out information when it comes to condensing your CV than trying to remember the details of that great piece of work you completed three years ago.
Practise – Prepare yourself to discuss your CV in depth with a prospective employer and think about how to present your achievements. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not the best candidate but the best prepared candidate who secures the role.
Visit our career advice page for more information or contact one of our specialist consultants to help with finding your next role.