To follow on from our last blog “10 Interview Tips You Should Definitely Know” we’re going to go through the good, the bad and the ugliest of CVs. Nowadays due to the intense competition for each vacancy, candidates are judged within the first few seconds of reading their CV. Not to worry! D R Newitt have decided to take you through some essential know-hows, ensuring your CV stands out from the rest and you make a first impression for all the right reasons.
WHAT IS A BAD CV?
Before showing you how to construct a great CV, let’s start with what a bad CV looks like. Here are a few things to avoid.
Providing irrelevant personal information – You may be very proud of your stamp collection or the fact you’ve started a meatloaf cover band, however, unless your personal information is relevant to the job you’re applying for, do not include it on your CV. Bear in mind having one or two things you are passionate about can always spark off engagement. Just remember to include relevant interests.
Spelling errors & font – A very simple mistake to make and something simple to get right. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately the number of CVs that recruiters see with spelling and grammatical errors is still common. Ensure you use fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman in size 10 or 12.
Unexplained gaps in employment – Having unexplained gaps in your employment does not bode well when trying to secure a new role. Employers may think you’re hiding something if a full chronological working history is not present. In order to gain an employer’s trust, you need to explain gaps in your gaps in your employment. Full disclosure is always a better option than omitting information.
A Lengthy CV – Generally you need to keep your CV short, impactful and to the point. Keeping it as close to two pages of A4 as possible. However, depending on the job, it may mean your past employment is extremely significant and will strengthen your chances. So don’t be afraid to add it.
Email address – Let’s be honest, no employer is going to give a job to little_miss_flirty@. Email addresses that are considered funny, cute and even those that contain underscores, can seriously hinder your chances. If you still have the same email address from when you are a teenager, set up a separate, more professional sounding email account purely for job applications. This will also ensure that any replies to your applications don’t get missed in your inbox amongst all your regular emails and spam.
AN UGLY CV
Although rare, unfortunately these do exist. An ugly CV will make an appearance from time to time and sadly, this type of candidate doesn’t stand a chance.
Bad Formatting – Probably the most important thing to consider when writing your CV. A badly formatted CV will confuse your reader as it won’t have a natural flow. Be sure to use the correct spacing between clear headings and paragraphs and bullet points to break up long sentences.
Make It Colourful –Colour, when correctly used can breakdown a CV and direct the reader to certain headings. However, a rainbow of colours on the page just looks plain ugly and messy.
Use Lots of Capitals – WHEN WE READ CAPITALS, WE TEND TO SHOUT THE WORDS IN OUR HEAD. This is great way to have your CV thrown straight in the bin. This one is simple……TAKE THE CAPS LOCK OFF!
A Photo – Unless you are applying for a job as a model or any other job role where looks equals cash, there is no need to include a photo. The obvious exception to this is if the employer asks for one.
SO WHAT DOES A GOOD CV LOOK LIKE
A good CV is selected within in a matter of seconds, so your first step is to learn from all the mistakes listed above. Your CV should provide a concise summary of your expertise and achievements. The reader will want to know what you can personally offer the business and how you could make a difference. This should leap off the page.
Structure – Presentation is Key. A professional looking CV is always carefully and clearly presented. This gives the reader a much easier time to navigate through and find what they’re looking for. There is no standard CV template you should always follow, which gives you the freedom to be creative with your structure.
Tailored to the Job – We’ve all been tempted to send out the same CV to lots of different employers in hope that you get lucky. Stop! Take some time to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. Use the job description to work out what skills you have that can demonstrate you’re the perfect candidate for that particular job.
Provide Experience – We can all say “Provided fantastic Customer Service”, however, it’s how you can evidence this that the reader will be looking for. Explaining how and why you provided fantastic customer service reassures the reader you know exactly what you’re talking about and not just using buzz phrases to impress.
Power Words – Using some power words like ‘pro-active’, ‘reliable’, ‘innovative’, ‘confident’, ‘adaptable’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘motivated’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘dependable’ are sure to give your CV a bit of extra spice for the reader.
THE CV CHECKLIST
Personal Details – You must include your name, address, mobile number and email address. In this digital age, you can even include your LinkedIn profile, where employers will have access to even more information about you.
Personal Statement – A short piece that emphasises your key attributes and explains why you would bring value to the role.
Employment History – Start with your current/most recent job, detailing your experience and achievements. Remember, you must account for any gaps in employment.
Education – Include all qualifications including training courses that you think may be relevant to the role.
Skills – Use this section to demonstrate evidence of the skills needed for the role. These could be used from any area of your life including home, academic, work and hobbies. You can also include any proficiencies you have in other languages. A good example of this would be ‘proficient in using Microsoft Excel’ or ‘currently hold a full UK driving licence’.
Interests – Concentrate on a few key interests rather than a long list. Perhaps you lived/ worked abroad? Travelled? Run marathons? Employers are more likely to be interested in well-rounded individuals.
References – All referees should have contact details provided, however, if you have run out of space, you can simply add the line “The names and addresses can be supplied on request”.
Now you know how to avoid the bad and the ugly, you are on the way to constructing your perfect CV and we would love to see it!
Feel free to send your updated version to us here.