Get your C.V prepared
Your CV is often the first impression you make with a potential employer. so make sure it stands out from the crowd using my tips outlined below.
Adam Jones, ESB Chair and HR Expert
At the top of your CV you will need to let employers know who you are and some details about you too. You might want to include your name and your contact details (such as phone and e-mail). Make sure your name stands out by making it slightly larger or by putting it in bold.
Include a few sentences about you and your skills to give employers a better understanding about you and get their attention. Make sure you edit this to suit the role that you’re applying for so that you promote all of your best points. In fact, it’s important to adapt your CV for each job you apply for so that you best demonstrate how you are suited to the job.
Once the introductions are out of the way, the employer will mostly want to see what experience you have. If you have had a lot of different jobs, it is best to include up to 10 - 15 years of experience as long as your CV doesn’t go over two pages. If you have had a role earlier in your career that is more relevant to the role you are applying for now, include it!
Remember that you might have to explain any gaps you have in your CV in an interview. If you don’t have any experience, you can instead list some other responsibilities you have had: perhaps you have had to raise a family or have just finished education. Be sure to highlight any voluntary work or training you may have had too, but if it’s still difficult to add any of this you can also address this in your profile; be honest, but don’t highlight any negative experiences.
It can be hard to decide what skills and experience to include. Regardless of your work experience, you can list some of the skills you have developed through your own experiences, including being a carer, a parent, a volunteer or from any personal projects you’ve started or been involved in.It’s important to keep it relevant, but here are some things that may help you consider all of your experience:
Example soft skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
Example technical skills
- Project planning
- Book keeping
Check and check again!
- 43% of CV’s are discarded because they are written in third person and if there are any spelling or grammatical mistakes, it is very likely that your CV will get thrown away.
In this next section, you should list your complete education, including the places you studied, the years you were a student and the qualifications and levels you studied to. Only include grades in which you passed. Be sure to arrange your places of study chronologically and all of your courses alphabetically or numerically according to the grade you received.
If you have a higher level qualification such as a degree or above, you might find it sufficient to simply list your degree level and the required qualifications to gain access to the course (such as A-Levels or equivalent). Remember, if you list a qualification, certificate or award, have copies of them to hand as an employer may request to see them.
Interests / Activities
After your education, you should list some hobbies and interests to help demonstrate more about you as a person. By listing these interests, you show that you are active and may highlight some other skills you have: perhaps you compete or practice in a sport, or maybe you enjoy doing something creative.
This is a good place to list any voluntary activities or projects you have been involved in, but certain activities like watching TV, partying or listening to music won’t interest employers.
- Make sure your CV is clean and simple to read. Using lots of different fonts and colours actually makes it distracting. You can find lots of free templates online to help with your layout.
- As a rule, keep your CV to no more than two pages long
- List your previous experience in order of relevance to make it easier for the employer to shortlist you.
- Inconsistent formatting, typos, and uncommon file formats are all quick ways to present yourself in a negative light. Check and check again!
- Don’t include things just to fill out the CV; every item on your list should be relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Most CVs are too descriptive, whilst they should be achievement orientated. Take a look at each bullet point on your CV and see if you can make it achievement based.
If you follow all of these steps, you’ll have a great CV. It can take some time, but it is important to get it right.
Your covering letter is another important document; it is a way often used to introduce yourself and link your skills to the job application. you need to take some time to tailor the letter to the job even if you’re applying directly by email. Write a strong covering letter to explain your skills, experiences and interest in the role. and do your best to find the name of the person you are addressing it to. Do all of these things and your application will really stand out from the crowd. Remember that it is important to stay professional when, but don’t make it overly formal.