18 tips to a winning CV

18 tips to a winning CV

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The chief way to sell yourself on paper is your CV. Success depends on how far it meets the criteria, background and bias of the person reading it. Follow these tips to equip yourself with the best CV

Read

  • Read the job advert and specification thoroughly – it’s important to know exactly what it is they are looking for
  • Read any company literature or publicity material associated with the role
  • Refer to the website of the original job advertisement
  • Read your current CV. Are you happy with it? Does it fully reflect you as a person and the skills you have to offer?
  • Read any professional journals, newspapers or current articles related to your field and the position you are going for. Consider what employers are looking for within that field
  • Use any resources you can find about CV advice. You might find ideas from others you hadn’t considered

Think

Ask yourself ‘How employable am I?

  • Think about the range of skills and competencies that are required – then consider how you can tailor your experience and skills to meet those requirements
  • Think about your current skills portfolio – are there ways to increase your chances of success? Are there any new qualifications/standards that will enhance your skillsets? Are there any new developments which would require different skills and attributes
  • Think about the type of language that is used in the literature. What does it tell you about the company/type of person they are looking for?
  • Think about the range of skills and the evidence you have to support them
  • Just how employable are you?

Act

  • Write a clear list of your skills, qualities and experience that are essential for the position – can you back them up with evidence? – create a skills portfolio
  • Refer to your skills portfolio – is the language the same? Is it positive and active? Do you need to update the way in which you describe yourself and your experiences/skills?
  • Perform a thorough review of your current CV against your skills and those required by the position. Also, seek feedback on your current CV from colleagues, specialists and career experts
  • Again refer back to your current CV with this in mind. Also, try to identify anyone who works in a similar role/organisation and contact them to discuss the job opportunity (plan what you need to know before contacting them)
  • Ask other people for copies of their current CV. The more examples you have the better. However remember this is going to be your personal CV – make sure it is a reflection of you. Remember also that you can learn from examples of ‘how not to do it’ as well
  • Start to prioritise these skills. Identify what categories they fall into. Are there any gaps that you need to work on?

The seven deadly sins

Pauline Quinn, Careers Consultant, University of Gloucestershire explains the biggest  CV mistakes. Beware!

  • Having the words ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top of your CV.  It is obvious that your document is a CV and putting a heading on it would be like sending a letter to your bank with the words ‘letter to my bank’ across the top.
  • A photo .Employers don’t want to be open to charges that they have treated one applicant less fairly than another because of their appearance.  If they want to verify your identity, they will ask you to bring photo I.D. to an interview.
  • An unprofessional email address. Ask yourself are you going to make a good first impression with something like ‘luckylulu@hotmail.com’ As one recruiter recently commented: “to me it is like showing up for an interview in shorts and a t-Shirt.”
  • A third page. They won’t read that far.
  • Your date of birth/ marital status. These factors have nothing to do with your ability to do the job.
  • Your nationality – unless you are using the CV in a country where this would be an issue due to work permits/visas.
  • Poor spelling, bad grammar or a font size less than 11. Just don’t!