It’s useful to bear in mind that clients and agencies might receive hundreds of applications for each job vacancy. With so many CVs to get through, each one must be quickly assessed. You might have great skills and experience, but if they’re not clearly communicated, you could be missing out on interview opportunities. In order for your CV to grab a recruiter’s attention, you’ll need to follow some simple but crucial rules when it comes to structure and key content. Here’s our inside tips on how to RoQet your CV to the top of the ‘yes’ pile.
Structure: Structuring is where a lot of candidates fall down. There’s a common assumption that as long as all the information is there, somewhere, the recruiter will use their magic powers to search out the relevant bits. While recruiters are great at spotting the skills they’re looking for, burying them in an avalanche of generic information, hobbies and school achievements won’t help your case. Structuring your CV correctly will help the recruiter to quickly find relevant information. It will also help to achieve a logical flow that avoids repetition. Here are the basic sections your CV should include:
Name and contact details: Whatever template you’re using, your name and contact details should be clearly visible at the top of your CV. Make sure you keep your details updated if you change your address, phone number or email account.
Personal summary: An important introduction to the candidate, this should be a short paragraph that summarises your key skills and experience. It’s a good idea to read the candidate specification for the role and pick out specific attributes that you can demonstrate. Your summary should clearly state why you’re a good choice for the position, and might also include a sentence on how the role fits in with your career plan.
Skills & Expertise: Instead of listing generic skills, your expertise should be industry specific, such as knowledge of procedure or technical proficiency with equipment and software. You can also include membership of professional bodies in this section including any professional qualifications. Depending on your age, experience and industry, you may want to list your academic qualifications separately.
Work Experience: This section should include your work history and any relevant placements or volunteer work. You can give brief examples of individual projects that you worked on and any significant achievements where you made a demonstrable difference to an organisation you worked for.
Some other important considerations when crafting your CV
Your CV should be a maximum of 3 pages, but preferably shorter. Some agencies and clients won’t read past the first page, so you should always tailor the content for each specific role that you apply for, prioritising the most important information while minimising less relevant content.
Links to your professional profiles: Depending on the position you’re applying for, it could be useful to include links to your LinkedIn profile, website or online portfolio. These could provide the recruiter with a valuable means of accessing further information. It’s best not to attach files as they can get lost. Also bear in mind that URLs can change location if you’re sending a digital CV, so it’s best to give a neat version of the URL address.
Presentation: Check your CV for clarity and readability, paying attention to fonts, paragraphs, alignment and grammar. Unless you’re applying for a creative position, avoid using pictures or unusual fonts as they are distracting and can look gimmicky.
Buzzwords: Avoid using too many ‘buzzwords’ as these tend to clutter your information with generic terms. You should take every opportunity to make your CV genuinely interesting and unique, however try avoiding too much personal information unless it demonstrates a particular skill.
Transparency: There’s a fine line between presenting yourself in the best light possible and stretching the truth to breaking point. Technological developments are making it increasingly possible for recruiters to verify the information you provide, so avoid getting caught out. It’s fine if you don’t match all the criteria for a role, rather than making something up, emphasise the matching skills you have instead.
Gaps in your work history: There are many reasons that people have gaps in their work history, but recruiters will often want you to account for them as a matter of protocol. Travelling, job searching, training or family commitments are all valid reasons for gaps.Tags: CV, CV Tips