Get a winning CV with this simple formula
A Curriculum Vitae is a written overview of your experience and qualifications when applying for a job opportunity. Commonly abbreviated to CV, the term is derived from the Latin expression, meaning the ‘course of one’s life’.
Presenting your CV or the ‘course of your life’ to the greatest effect is vital when you’re considering your next step, or a move in a new direction. So, what is the best way to go about it?
Writing a CV is something of a science, but luckily you don’t need to be Einstein to figure out the formula writes Heather Hamilton, a freelance Career Adviser and professional CV Writer with PeoplePerHour.
If you feel like you’re sending your CV into some kind of black hole, read on for five easy ways to showcase your skills and strengths and start winning interviews.
1. Include the most relevant information in the first half page of your CV
A potential employer may only spend several seconds reviewing each CV, so it’s important to get this part right. Include a professional profile at the beginning of your CV summarising your essential skills and qualities in a paragraph.
Ensure your professional profile is punchy and strategic, highlighting your current situation, your most relevant experience and your future career plans matched to the job specifications.
Along with a professional profile, a key achievements section will make the information which follows easier for the reader to digest. Include your most noteworthy achievements from your work experience and education as well as personal attributes here in five or six bullet points.
Use concrete examples so that the employer would have a good idea of the value you would bring to the table if they were to read your key achievements alone, which brings us to the next point.
2. Clearly demonstrate your employability skills with specific examples
If the job advertisement states ‘Maintain a department organisational structure sufficient to meet all goals and objectives’ as a responsibility, give a solid example with evidence of how you fulfil the criteria, such as:
‘Motivated personnel and identified training needs of 15 staff to maximise performance and meet all corporate objectives.’
3. Make it easy for the employer to find what they are looking for
Give full details of the responsibilities for the positions you have held by searching for job descriptions of similar roles and add any outstanding achievements or results.
Mention the keywords from the job description of the role you’re applying for, to show employers you have solved problems similar to theirs and achieved the results they are looking for.
Provide the address for each organisation and omit months you commenced and finished for longer held positions – this will help with any employment gaps and improve readability.
Two pages are generally considered a maximum unless you’re writing an academic, medical or executive CV.
4. Show how your interests further demonstrate your suitability
Include your interests and emphasise any achievements related to the competencies (skills) or personal attributes the employer is seeking, such as team captain or chairperson of a local group to further demonstrate your leadership skills. Concentrate on a few interests or voluntary experience in bullet form sentences.
Spellcheck every application set to the correct proofing language to avoid what would be viewed as careless errors and poor attention to detail.
5. Ensure your CV is memorable with a strong cover letter
See your cover letter as an opportunity to introduce yourself so that the relevant information is developed and reinforced in your CV, as opposed to the reader having to decipher your suitability directly from your CV.
A well written cover letter will go a long way to ensure your CV stands out and should also be carefully matched to the job specifications to show how your skills, experience and qualifications make you an ideal candidate.