As an applicant or professional, your CV is a part of you. It gets to employers before you and ensures you get invited. It is more like your forerunner. For this reasons, will it not be better for you to give it all that is required to make it stand out?
Your CV is “you” in paper – it should be alive and kicking, fresh and growing just like you. Give it the WOW effect that cause very busy employers looking for keywords to notice you. It is your CV that tells the employer that you can do the job and you are well-matched for their company.
For you to achieve these goals you have to adapt your CV to match the job you are applying for, state clearly what you possess in terms of skills and illustrate the ‘A’ game you have that will be of benefit to the employer.
Crafting a CV that stands the test of professionalism is easy if you adhere to the rules. Here are they:
RULE 1. BREVITY IS KING
- Write short and plain sentences.
- Long sentences are intimidating so keep it short.
- Use bullets instead of long sentences.
RULE 2. LANGUAGE IS KEY
- Keep language formal and professional.
- Avoid using I or your name.
- Use direct sentences like ‘Core skills include ….’
- Know your tenses – Past tense is to career e.g. Managed a new branch for ….. while present tense is to your skills and competencies e.g. ‘Offers experience in online marketing…’
RULE 3. PROOF READING IS CRITICAL
- How many times have you lost the hunger for reading a book after you sighted grammar errors or spelling mistakes in it? That is the way employers feel when they see errors in your CV. It is important for you to read the final copy thoroughly. An error infested CV portrays you as an incompetent and unserious applicant or professional.
- Spend more time proof-reading than writing your CV because a single error noticed renders your efforts and hard works a waste.
- You can leave the CV for a while then go back to it and re-read it, that way you will come back fresh to spot hidden errors.
- Have a friend that is better in English than you are to read through or employ the service of a professional.
STEP 4. DETERMINE THE LAYOUT
- Plan the outline of your CV before writing it.
- Let it be clean and organized, leave plenty of blank spaces and wide margins.
- Use uniform and common fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman or Courier. An uncommon font will be changed if you are sending your CV via email as an attachment in Word document format to an employer with a computer that has few fonts. Once the font gets changed the arrangement of the CV will be messed up.
- Use 10 – 12 point for text body and not more than 16 for headings. Never try to shrink fonts to fit in a page, rather cut down sentences or allow it to extend to the next page.
- Bolden headings instead of capitals
- Print only on one side of the paper and don’t let the pages be more than three and at best two. Number the pages when more than 2.
STEP 5. STRUCTURE THE FUNCTIONS
Organize your CV in this format –
- Personal Data: Add your name, address, phone number and email. These days of online presence you can add your LinkedIn Profile, blog link, website etc. Please remember the rule here, there is only one; keep it professional – avoid unprofessional or unrelated online links.
- Profile Summary: Some authorities use Personal Statement. Here is where you sell yourself to the reader. You have the chance to hold the reader spell bound if you are able to play well with your words – but never forget use plain English and be brief! Make the summary more focused on what you can do, your makeup, professional trait and link them to your past job and the one you are vying for.
- Key Competencies/Skill Set: State all your strong attributes – acquired and personal attributes that can be transferred to your work.
- Accomplishments: Describe any special assignment you accomplished or any work related task or award given e.g. Was Best Staff for 3 consecutive years, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
- Professional Experience: Current or most recent position comes first while others follow in that order. If you were promoted add it to your CV as a separate position. For each work experience state the start date, finish date, name of the company and a concise description of your duties, scope of job, achievements, responsibilities and job title
- Education and Qualifications: State your academic qualifications in reverse chronological order i.e. latest first.
- Membership, Training & Certification: Here is where you describe professional trainings, degrees and executive seminars or workshops attended. State clearly the subject, body awarding the certificate and year. If there are some qualifications that make you more marketable and are essential for the job, state them after your profile.
- References and clients endorsements: Include names and contact details of your referees who are willing to represent you. Let them be aware that you are using them before you do. State client endorsements and recommendations in the achievement.
STEP 6. PERIODIC REVIEW
Keep updating your CV with relevant items so that you will not forget the dates and details of some projects or new certificate acquired. This way you will save time and make your CV dynamic.
Now that I have shown you the door, you have to walk through it yourself and I hope you nail that job.
Don’t wait, re-write your CV now!
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