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 bottom of the pile without as much as a second glance, confirming the relevance of the old adage ‘first impressions count’.
Here are our four key tips to creating an attractive and effective resume:
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.
Effective resumes 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.
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 achievements 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.
One common mistake applicants make when sending their CV is they use a ‘one size fits all’ approach which lowers their chances of being noticed as they may leave out some key information relevant to a particular position they are applying for.
Be honest. 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.
Content, design and layout will determine whether you make it or break it, so ensure you focus on these key elements when drafting your CV.
To make your resume stand out, use industry specific keywords listed in the job ad you’re interested in applying for. This will show that you have the industry knowledge and relevant experience in the area as required by the role. Avoid cliché ridden statements like ‘natural leader’ or ‘highly motivated’, these traits should be demonstrated through your achievements in your CV.
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.
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