Your Curriculum Vitae or resume is your sales pitch. What are you selling? Yourself, naturally.
What you want your CV to do is to inspire an employer’s interest, get that interview and then wow them with your amazing personality, smashing good looks and ideally also your qualifications and experience.
Most jobs at all worth having (and often even those not worth having) attract large quantities of application letters, CVs and resumes. So how do you make yours stand out from all the others?
How do you make that bored-out-of-his-mind-recruiter, who just had his tenth up of coffee, pick your CV out of thousands of others?
Well sorry, there’s no CV template out there that guarantees you an interview.
There are, however, a few things you can do to increase your chances of being shortlisted.
First of all, at the top of your CV it does not need to say Curriculum Vitae. (They know what it is, they just spent the better part of their day sorting through hundreds of them). What it should have at the top is your name.
Do yourself a favor and keep it professional. That means no decorating your CV with flowers or hearts, no scented or colorful paper, no abnormally large or oddly shaped paper. Also don’t use any fonts which are hard to read. These things will make you stand out, but not necessarily in a good way.
Keep your CV to a standard A4 size on white paper with normal sized lettering in black ink. Sound boring? Well you probably already know by now that there is nothing fun about job hunting.There is also nothing fun about recruiting, and pink flowers and strange fonts aren’t going to make it any more fun.
Make sure your information is clear and easy to find. The first page of your CV would be a good place to put it. You do not need to include personal information such as; marital status, date of birth, disabilities or health information unless it’s specifically requested. Photos are also unnecessary unless requested.
Include your mission statement. A mission statement is an introductory paragraph about yourself, what you want to accomplish, what kind of role you are looking for and why you would be suitable to that role. You can customize this statement for each job you apply for.
Have a short summary of your skills in one place, so that a recruiter skimming your CV would be able to see all your qualifications without reading through the whole document.
After this summary comes your work experience. You should put it in reverse chronological order. (So that your last job appears first)
You should briefly explain the company does, what your role was and what your responsibilities were. Using bullet points is a good idea. Try to avoid using ‘I’ or ‘me’ when describing your experience. Keep descriptions brief and use short paragraphs. You can compress older jobs, or jobs which are not relevant to the one you are applying for.
Again you should list your schools, colleges any other education in reverse chronology. List brief details about your school or courses, including what skills you learned. Grades are not normally necessary to include. DO NOT, volunteer negative information, such as failed exams or unfinished courses.
You can include references, or you can just state ‘available on request’ which is usually fine. If you do get the interview make sure you have your references at hand.
Make sure to spell check your CV before sending it out. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors reflect badly on you. Also double check dates, details and anything that might be raised at an interview.