Job applicants should put just as much effort into their CV as they would in preparing for an interview. This is the company recruiter’s first impression of them as a candidate, so just as you’d wear your Sunday best for the interview you should make yourself look just as good on paper.
Here are three main points to crafting the perfect CV:
Keep a master CV on file with your entire work history, skills, and full descriptions of your prior experience, but don’t include all that information when applying to positions. A CV is a summary of the most important information relevant to the position you’re applying for. They’re your foot in the door, so it’s vital that the CV is tailored perfectly to the position you’re interested in.
CVs should include contact information, professional experience, skills, education, and awards relevant to the position. These should also be listed in chronological order with work experience taking precedence on the page.
Interested candidates should look at similar job descriptions for the position they’re applying for, as well as the initial one posted and the company website, to understand and mirror the language used in the posts. Keywords found in the posts are likely what the employer is searching for in a candidate and applicants can more easily highlight those skills in their prior work experience.
In today’s tech-savvy age, most employers will use software to filter through applicant CVs using certain keywords that are listed in the position description. So, unless you use those keywords, your CV may never be seen by human eyes.
Experience isn’t the only thing that needs to stand out to a potential employer. Applicants should make sure the design of their CVs grab just as much attention and include just as much detail.
Job descriptions should be listed in bullet point format instead of paragraphs with full sentences. Recruiters don’t have time to read full sentences — bullet points make it easier for them to skim.
The CV design should be tailored to the industry in which you’re applying. Applying for something in advertising will demand a more creative and design-emphasized CV than one focused on business.
The last point in designing the CV accordingly is whether to include references. It’s mostly an industry-specific preference. If you have connections within the industry, ask them before taking up space on the CV.
There’s nothing worse than having a recruiter point to a grammatical or spelling error on your CV. Get it reviewed at least twice — once by a professional in the industry, who understands the language and structure used by those in the industry, and then by someone who’s skilled in English grammar skills.
Bonus section: What not to do on a CV