A good CV is a powerful document. Whether you’re an eager-beaver looking for your first job or an old-hat taking the next step up the corporate ladder, having a strong CV will secure job interviews with leading firms.
Research shows that you have just 8.8 seconds to stand out so you need be able to sell yourself and your strengths quickly. Like, really quickly.
So how do you demonstrate in just 8.8 seconds that you have all the right skills for the job, not to mention your devilishly good looks and excellent bants?
Use the job description as a guide
Every CV needs to be tailored for each industry and company, so this is where your research needs to begin. Pay close attention to the language used in the job description and the attributes highlighted as you’ll need to mirror this within your CV.
This will show that you can use language that resonates with them. It also proves that you have bothered to read their brief fully. Hello, teacher’s pet.
Write a kick ass personal statement
A strong personal statement will help you stand out and show your personal drive and ambition. An employer is looking for someone who can not only get the job done, but someone who will fit within the culture of their organisation.
Include a summary of your experience, skills and any standout achievements. (Turning up to work on time after a TT bender doesn’t need to be mentioned, though we all know what an achievement that is.)
Showcase your skills
What personal skills are you most proud of and how could you use them to be an asset to the company? List specific soft skills that you have as these traits are often neglected in CV’s yet they are vital for the workplace.
Don’t forget to highlight skills gained from personal hobbies or while volunteering. Shout loudly about what makes you special. You go Glen Coco.
Make use of keywords
Key words are essential to get past the software scans. Examples are always good so add information which supports your assessment of the key skills required for that role.
Though don’t get carried away and spam your CV with a string of adjectives or you won’t be taken seriously. Nobody wants to hire a ‘creative, strategic, attentive, responsible, technical, professional, friendly, self-motivated individual.’
Stats are your friends
Numbers and percentages are always easy to digest quickly on a CV and provide quantifiable examples of your achievements. It makes it clear for recruiters to see what kind of impact you and your work can have at their company.
Included stats if you can be sure they are correct; never exaggerate or embellish the truth. If you claim to have set up a marketing campaign with a 90% conversion rate, you’ll have a lot of explaining to do.
Presentation is key
We can often focus so much on making sure the content is right, that we forget the most obvious of rules. Your CV needs to look good as well as sound good. Poor formatting is a turn off so spend time making sure it’s easy to read with plenty of white space, subheadings and bullet points to break up the content.
Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes
Think about what the recruiter will want to read when submitting your CV. Understand your target audience and ask yourself, ‘what experience and qualities are employers looking for in my field?’ Weave in words that reflect the organisational values and culture and think of unique ways to make yourself sound interesting. Don’t churn out the same clichés that everyone else does.
Proof read. Twice. (Or get someone else to)
And finally, make sure you proof read the whole thing at least twice. Or better yet, get somebody else to do it as it can be difficult to spot your own mistakes. You don’t want to accidentally list lap dancing as a hobby instead of tap dancing…
To sum up how to submit a strong CV, Debbie at Paragon Recruitment says: “Your CV is a starting point for what should be an active document, and ultimately the tool to enable you to secure an interview with your employers of choice. It’s crucial to adapt your CV for each role, every time – you need to consider the role and employer you are applying to and then to include or remove appropriate information in support of this.”
Once your CV is smoother than Nutella spread on toast, head over to Paragon Recruitment for more information on their latest available roles. You can also contact the team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.