Create a great first impression
Your CV is your chance to create a great first impression with potential employers, your chance to sell yourself and your skill set.
It is a great opportunity but also a challenge to make your CV stand out from the crowd, for the right reasons.
As a leading recruitment company in East Anglia, we see a lot of CVs every week, good and bad, and so we have put together this quick guide to preparing your professional CV.
There is no standard CV template, but remember it is less about creating something 'glitzy' and more about getting the important and relevant facts across to potential employers quickly and easily.
Style the layout
- Font. Choose a standard, easy to read font and use it throughout.
- Headings & sub headings. Heading and subheadings are important to help reader naviage their way through the page especially if they emphasise key points. Try using bold headings to make them stand out.
- Bullet points. Blocks of text can put people off and can mean key points get lost. Use bullet points where relevant to get the message across concisely.
Employers receive many, many CVs for every job and generally they do not have the time to wade through lots of detail at this early screening stage.
So, try and keep your CV concise, more a 2-page fact filled document than 'War in Peace'.
A 2-page CV is often held up as ideal but this can vary. In practise, longer than 2 pages is perfectly fine, just make sure that everything is relevant.
When writing a CV we recommend that the following information is provided laid out in this order:
- Full address
- Telephone numbers (mobile and home numbers)
- E-mail address
This is a short statement at the top of your CV that gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills that are relevant for the role you are applying for. By covering your key skills here and experience here, it will encourage potential employers to read further.
- It is also worth changing this profile to suit the employer and job being applied for.
- Try to avoid generic phrases, for example “good team player, good communication skills, can multitask” unless you can give examples of when you have demonstrated these skills (if you can think of something more original, please include it).
Highlight your skills matching the role. These should be hard skills and bullet pointed for example:
- Customer service experience
- Purchase Ledger experience
- Electrical engineering experience
- Start with your current or most recent role and work backwards
- Provide months and years that you started and left each role
- If there is a gap in your employment explain it
- Use bullet points for all your responsibilities and achievements as they are easier to read
- List with the most recent first
- Record name of schools/colleges together along with subjects and grades achieved
This is optional but can set you apart if you have a real passion for something or it is relevant to the role. Try and avoid generic hobbies such as going to the gym, when you don’t, or socialising with my friends, as they are not terribly exciting to read about and may not set you apart.
Information not needed
You do not need to include your marital status or whether you have children as these are not relevant to whether you can do a job or not.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar errors create a terrible first impression, regardless of the actual content. Make sure you proofread your CV, proofread it again and ask someone else to check it too.
Your CV is about you and giving a clear impression of what you are about. So, keep it concise, informative and focused on highlighting your skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. With this in mind, it can also be beneficial to adapt your CV for each role you are applying for to ensure you highlight the relevant skills.