Here's how to write a CV that will land you the job you want
When it comes to CVs, impressive doesn’t mean expansive. In fact, the compact, the better.
Recruiters have a lot of information to sort through; you don’t want to waste any time.
Your CV should be a single page at best, two pages at most. It should include your contact information, a brief summary of your personality and skill set, a list of experience and achievements, and your references.
Here’s how to fit a lot of potential recruiting power into such a small space.
If your CV is poorly formatted, it will end up in the rejected pile almost immediately.
Keep It Customized
Customizing a CV to the particular job, and even the particular person, you’re sending it to can make all the difference. It shows the recruiter that you’ve taken the time to not only read the job description but look into who the hiring manager is and what the company stands for.
Address your CV to the hiring manager if their name is available, in a professional manner (“Mr. Jones,”). If no name is listed, you can still address it to “Sir or Madam.” However, you should include specific details about why you believe you would be a good fit for this particular company and position.
Keep It Clean
If your CV is poorly formatted, it will end up in the rejected pile almost immediately. The recruiter wants to see that you’re capable, so you need to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Unless you’re a graphic designer or artist, there’s no need to make this into a complicated infographic. Keep your CV simple and clearly formatted, in a standard font and font size. Use appropriate headings (Education, Experience, References, etc.) to break up the text and make it more easily scannable.
You should also be sure to proofread and edit the document for grammar mistakes, misspellings, or inaccuracies. Consider running it through a spell check program and editing software like Grammarly.
If you’re not sure what format to use, consider working from a template. Most word processing software comes with resume and CV templates, as do many online editors like Canva and Venngage.
Know Your Stuff and Show It
You know that you’re qualified for the position, but the recruiter might not be able to make the connection immediately. Make it for them by offering a simple, direct statement about what you know and how it applies to this position.
Don’t be timid when listing your experience and education – be confident! List the most relevant and recent pieces you have, as well as your responsibilities and achievements. Be detailed and action-oriented when describing – recruiters want to see that you made an active, positive impact on these positions. This is where you’ll want to brag about yourself.
As a word of warning, though, try not to be overly braggy. Stay truthful and factual about what you did; don’t exaggerate it for the sake of getting the job. There’s a difference between putting your real experience in the best possible light and falsifying your talents to make yourself sound better on paper. Do the former, not the latter.
Focus Your Wording
Before you tailor to companies, you’re going to want to tailor to keywords. Adding specific keywords to your resume can help recruiters find it in the first place, making you more likely to get requests for interviews if you’re posting on a job site.
Consider adding a professional title to your resume, as this will be easy for recruiters to catch when searching for those specific positions to fill. You’ll also want to use industry words associated with the position to catch similar, but not identical, job title searches.
Be careful when targeting keywords. Using too many “buzzwords” all over the page can make it seem robotic or spammy, and may get you caught by spam folders and filters on websites before recruiters even see your CV.
Make Yourself Available
One of the most important parts of your CV is your contact information. After all, without it, how would a recruiter go about recruiting you? You should always have at least two forms of contact on your CV: your phone number and your email address.
If you’re listing your phone number while job hunting, be prepared to answer any unknown numbers with a professional greeting. Set your voicemail to a simple, professional, and personalized message including your name. That way, missing a call doesn’t have to mean missing an opportunity.
Make sure the email address you list is professional as well. Consider making an email account dedicated specifically to professional things; the simplest addresses are just your name followed by the carrier company (i.e., [email protected]).
Try not to include any numbers or special characters, if possible, as that can make the address hard to remember.
Job hunting can be a tiring experience, but it doesn’t have to be a fruitless effort. Having a good CV can make it significantly easier by providing the recruiter with the best version of you right from the start of the process. If you keep your CV clear, concise, personal, and professional, then it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.
Remember, the worst that can happen is the recruiter passes upon you. Go ahead and apply to positions you’re not sure you would be considered for if you believe you can do the job well. There’s no harm in trying, and you never know if an opportunity will land until you try.