When it comes to job searching, writing your CV well is crucial. Get it right and you’ll be preparing for an interview in no time, but get it wrong and be prepared for rejection. The purpose of a CV is to get noticed by employers in order to be selected for the next stage of the recruitment process, so maximising the impact of your CV is one of the most important steps at the beginning of your job search.

FACT: The average time a recruiting manager spends looking at a CV is 5 – 7 seconds

What is a CV?

A CV, which stands for curriculum vitae, is a document used when applying for jobs. It allows you to summarise your education, skills and experience, in order to successfully sell your abilities to potential employers. 

How long should your CV be?

In the UK, a standard CV is usually no longer than 2 sides of A4. To save space only include relevant information relating to the job you are applying for and try not to repeat information included in the cover letter.

When writing your CV take into consideration the layout, is it clear and easy to read? A recruiter who is sent a CV that looks messy with no structure, is going to see that as a reflection of you. Any errors such as grammar or spelling mistakes are often used by recruiters to weed out weaker candidates, even if you are the most suitable or experienced for the role. 

Get the basics right

Every CV should be tailored to the job role that you are applying for, but there are some common sections you need to cover. These include; personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work experience; relevant skills to the job you are applying for; own interests, and some achievements or hobbies.

Remember, your CV is designed to convince potential employers that you’re the perfect person for the job role.

FACT: 76% of CV’s are ignored if your email address is unprofessional

Understand the job description

The information you need to include in your CV is stated in the job description of a role. You need to demonstrate the skills they require  in your CV. The more skills/experience you cover in your CV from the job description, the more likely you are to be invited to the next stages of the recruitment process. 

Tailor your CV to the role

If a required skill on the job description is not included in your CV, you may not be called back for the interview. Use the job description as a guide to what you should include and make sure you cover as many aspects of the job. One of the most damaging CV mistakes can happen well before you start to write your CV, and that is failing to research your target roles. You don’t need to rewrite your CV for every job you apply for, but adapt the details so they stay relevant for each role.

Highlight your key achievements

Listing your job tasks/responsibilities will come across to a recruiter as lifeless. You need to ensure you highlight your key achievements and reinforce them using statistics to showcase the success of your project, which also demonstrates that you are results-focused.

Examples include:

  • Increased company revenue by 5% last year
  • Pitched and won 8 new clients in the last 12 months

Avoid overloading your CV with cliche terms and phrases

Overusing phrases that many candidates have used over and over again, not only makes your CV not stand out, but will make you come across as boring.

One of the most used cliches used in CV’s is pointing out you are prepared to work hard in your new job. The majority of job seekers will claim they are hardworking, so you will not stand out by using this phrase. You need to show potential employers how you stand out against other job seekers, so share information that is unique to you.

Proofread, proofread and proofread again

Proofreading your CV before sending to any recruiters is one of the most important steps. A single spelling or grammar mistake could be enough to put a hiring manager off your CV. Ensure you double and triple check your CV before sending it out.

TOP TIP: Always try asking someone to look over your CV for grammar, spelling and inconsistency in formatting, just in case they spot something that you don’t

Final thoughts

By following our tips and advice on writing your CV, you are likely to maximise the impact, creating a great impression that will result in you being called for a job interview.

If you’re on the lookout for a new role or opportunity, make sure to sign up for job alerts on the networx vacancy search page.

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