Things You Should be Aware of
Nowadays most CVs received by business organizations of any considerable size are processed by CV checking software. The software will create a shortlist of what it thinks are the most relevant applications and only these will be viewed by humans.
I realize this will come as a surprise to you as it did to me when I became aware of this fact. It becomes more understandable when you think about it; in today's economy it's not uncommon for a job opening to have 100+ applicants. On top of this reading through the CVs is usually a job for one or two senior managers with little time on their hands.
What Does This Mean for Me?
What this mean for you is that you will need to engineer your CV to pass through CV checking software successfully while still being readable and exciting. Now this may seem even more daunting than you had originally envisaged when you decide to seek out help with writing your CV.
However there's no need to worry, once you learn what's required to create a winning CV all you are then obligated to do is follow the steps.
Starting Your CV
The very first thing you will want to do is re-read the job advert a few times, take your time reading and pay special attention to important, emphasized and commonly used phrases. These phrase know as keywords are what the CV checking software will use to determine a "good" CV from a "bad" one.
Once you have identified possible keywords, write them down and then think of a few synonyms as these will also most likely be used in determining if your CV will be viewed by a human or not. Up to about 6 keywords (including your synonyms) will suffice.
You will be using the keywords to assist you in the writing of your CV, used as a guide they can be rather effective in producing a relevant CV. After all you're just feeding back to the employer what they have asked for.
How Long Should My CV be?
CVs today are an average of 4.5 pages long. But a better answer is as long as is required, prospective employers are prepared to read through quality CVs and this isn't a place where you want to limit your chances by cutting out vital pieces of information.
Before you get to the actual task of writing your CV take a moment to reflect on who will be reading your CV and how it will look to them. Generally CVs are read by senior members of staff so if you can appeal to their sensibilities then that will only strengthen the impact of your CV.
Jot down 2-3 sentences for each of the following points, whatever comes to mind, which can then be expanded upon when you get to creating you CV.
- Who are you is the first question that will be asked be an employer looking over your CV. Be clear and concise about your education, skills, experience, knowledge and other attributes you have. By now you should have a good idea of what will be demanded of you by this job and you will want to do your upmost to make your attributes relevant and appealing.
- Make a quick list of your strengths not necessarily your achievements (that's the next point) but personality traits you possess that would be an asset to the company you wish to work for. Try also to think about what other people commend you on and define the personality trait that applies to that.
- Now is the time to write down your achievements. Quickly write down your recent achievements so as to clear your mind and try to think more broadly about previous achievements that could have happened years and years ago. At this stage it is also helpful to put a star next to achievements which you believe to be particularly relevant to the job you want to apply for.
- If you have succeeded in areas of your life that the majority of people have not be sure to give them a special mention, include a bit more detail than what you have written down for point number 3 above. This is where you detail what really sets you apart i.e. What makes you different from the next candidate?
Writing Your CV!
By completing the 4 steps above (you did do them right?!) you are probably feeling a lot better about tackling your CV.Your personal details, name, address, telephone number, mobile number and email address always start off your CV.
This is important to remember - start how you mean to continue, your first section needs to hook your reader, list 2 achievements and about 4 - 5 relevant skills. Focus on putting your passion into the first section and try and make it as relevant to the job position as possible, this will entice the interviewer to read on.Where you place your academic record with in your CV is a matter of choice but the norm is to have following your opening summary.
Making your CV readable is crucial, short paragraphs and sentences of varying sizes will help to lead the eye down the page. Attempt not to cram too much information into your CV, there's no way you can fit your whole life onto a few pages and quite frankly the person reading your CV isn't all that interested. What really interests your potential employer is how you can make their lives easier and add value to the company. Try to think about the benefits within the benefits. For example you could be a naturally very organized person, instead of saying I believe my organizational skills are a particularly valuable asset, consider saying I'm a very organized person which means not only will I get more work done but it will also be clear to anyone else my current progress enabling better tracking of results.
A Few Points to Keep You on the Right Track
Now I know you're obviously a particularly humble person but just while you write this CV put that to one side. Your are now in the business of selling yourself, so if you're genuinely good at something put it in there and don't be too shy about it.
Correct spelling is a must, this is easy enough to check with most types of computer typing programs but make sure to proof read for grammar mistakes also as software programs don't always recognise these. Naturally it goes without saying that that this is not a place for any kind of slang.
If you've read all the way to the bottom of the page then there's no doubt that you are committed to writing a quality CV. By planning what you will write about you will make your task much easier, efficient and you will produce better results as well when you come to write your CV. Just keep in mind what we started with: the sole purpose of your CV is to get you that interview, and you will do fine.