A great CV can be used as the template for all your social media profiles and any online application forms you might have to fill out. While there’s lots of advice on how to write your CV on the web, we’ve narrowed it down to three essential factors that really make the difference when it comes to what recruiters want. Once you’ve got the basics covered, your CV should only need updating with your latest skills and experience, so investing some time in getting your CV right is worthwhile. Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs for each position; here’s how to make them stop and take notice of yours.
Include key words
These days, it’s likely that you’ll be submitting your CV digitally. Many recruitment agencies will enter your CV information into a database that they can search for key skills. Increasingly, software is used to match key content to a specific criteria. Just as you should include key words in your online profiles like LinkedIn, you should also include them in your CV. Keywords are very different from buzzwords. While buzzwords are often generic, keywords refer to the specific skills, qualifications or attributes that are often asked for in the role description. With this in mind, the role specification is a good place to start when it comes to finding keywords. While you should avoid simply repeating the criteria, if there are specific skills that are mentioned, make sure you feature these prominently in your CV. You can also scan job ads and the LinkedIn profiles of people in similar roles; pasting these into a word toy like Worldle will help to highlight key words and phrases.
Make it personal
Your CV should be concise, so it’s not the place for anecdotes or longwinded explanations. This being said, you shouldn’t feel that you have to be so brief and formulaic that it reduces your CV to a characterless ‘list.’ Recruiters want to see some indication of your character; so including unique details that also relate to the role’s requirements is a great way to get their attention. Illustrating your skills and achievements with a concise example that brings something new to the table will give your CV logic, coherence and narrative structure. For example, linking how a personal experience shaped your career path or how you effectively used a particular skill to achieve a certain outcome will personalise your CV while also giving it the above attributes. Likewise, how you choose to express yourself also conveys your character. While you should always aim for clarity and avoid complicated or obscure words that can appear contrived, this doesn’t mean you have to use generic language that won’t stand out from the crowd.
Present it professionally
Your CV is a representation of you that creates a fist impression for recruiters, with this in mind, it’s important to make sure that your CV looks professional and reads well. Many CV writing guides will tell you how to structure your CV and which sections should come first, however this can differ depending on which industry you work in. The most important factor is that the structure is clear, logical and easy to follow, so take a look at some CV templates to find one that works for you, or that you can easily adapt.
Presenting your CV professionally means making sure that important information is clear and easy to find, that the content doesn’t contain spelling errors, and the document is consistently formatted in a professional style. While it’s fine to include links, you should be sure to check the URLs are clean and not overcomplicated. Although CVs are often sent in digital format, they can also be printed for distribution, so links that aren’t typed out may not be visited. By keeping the style clean and simple, rather than using elaborate fonts or graphics that might be distracting or difficult to read, you’ll help recruiters quickly navigate the document and find the information they need.
Taking the time to write a great CV will give you all the information you need to quickly create an equally good LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a valuable resource for candidates who might be thinking of their next role. With most recruiters citing LinkedIn as their number one headhunting tool for matching talent to available positions, our article takes you through what a good LinkedIn profile can do for you.
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