Write Your Perfect CV
Not that long ago, the easiest way to get a job was to visit the company you wanted to work for and ask for one. Failing that if you knew someone already working for that company they would put a good word in for you.
Today, however, it’s not quite that simple. Most companies require you to submit your CV to them before they’ll even consider you for an interview let alone a position. So the CV has become a great deal more important, because it’s the first, and possible last, chance you have to make the right impression. That’s why it’s so important to get it right first time! So here’s how to write your perfect CV.
First off, you need to start writing a CV by being clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Which company are you planning to apply to? What type of job are you hoping to get? The answers to those questions will give you a direction for your CV. Remember, no matter how good your CV is, if the person reading it doesn’t think you’re suitable for the job, you won’t get any further. So make your CV good, but don’t spend countless hours stressing about making it perfect; you’re probably wasting your time.
It’s a good idea to keep your CV short and simple. The person reading your CV probably has dozens, if not hundreds more CVs to read through, and rather than waste time reading your lengthy life history, will put your CV aside and read somebody else’s. Work out the types of things the employer is most likely to want from an employee, and make sure your CV shows you have those skills or qualities.
For example, if the job is likely to require attention to detail, mention your ability in that area. Summarize your past job responsibilities with a focus on skills requiring attention to detail. Give your prospective employer plenty of chances to see how your skills could benefit their organization.
Perhaps you’ve never had this type of job before, and so don’t know exactly what the employer will be looking for. That’s okay; just spend some time researching the industry. If possible, ask some professionals in that industry what type of skills or qualities they’d look for in a person holding the job you’re applying for. Look at job advertisements, searching for clues, particularly if they mention certain qualities they’re looking for. Check out newspapers at the library, or search on the Internet.
Even better, look at the website of your potential employer, if they have one. Learn as much as you can about the business you’re trying to join, so that you have a better chance of targeting your CV correctly. That knowledge will pay off in an interview, because you can show you know something about the employer’s industry.
Tailor your CV to match the job role you are applying for
One word of warning – never make the mistake of writing a general CV, hoping that you’ll hit all the right buttons. That almost never works.
Now that you have an idea what sort of direction you need to give your CV, start putting it together. Most CVs contain the following sections, although they can vary a little depending on the industry. Still, you should always try to cover these areas somewhere in your CV:
– Employment history – Start with most recent first and briefly explain any breaks in employment.
– Positive personal characteristics – Tailor these to the role you are applying for.
– Computer or technical skills – Most jobs now require some skills even basic ones.
– Educational background and results – Include any work experience/voluntary work.
– Any other relevant accomplishments – such as a public speaking award or community work.
Once you get the hang of it, writing a CV really isn’t hard. All you have to do is put in everything you can to show the prospective employer that you can add value to their business, and take out anything that doesn’t.
On a final note always send your CV with an accompanying cover letter. You may be able to write your perfect CV but without a matching cover letter the reader may not even get as far as reading your CV. The cover letter should simply state which position you are applying for, reason for applying and a bit about yourself.
A covering letter builds upon the information you provided in your CV, it is a focussed sales pitch stating clearly in simple language just why this company should employ you. All of its contents should reaffirm to the reader that you are the right person for that job.
And remember from an earlier post I wrote once you have had your interview don’t forget to send a thank you letter.