Written by Dave Cullen
Writing the perfect CV to appropriately showcase all of your skills, experience and talents can be a daunting task. The vast majority of job applicants never make it to the interview stage because they have failed to develop a strong CV that represents them to their fullest potential. Everyday recruiters reject innumerable highly qualified candidates on the basis of a substandard professional resume. To ensure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of being considered for a role, your CV needs to be carefully structured. Although everyone’s CV is different, there are some recommended layout and formatting guidelines that should always be adhered to. In this article we will discuss how best to optimise your CV by ensuring it includes all of the ‘must have’ features and none of the extraneous details.
- Keep personal statements short. The first thing a recruiter or employer will notice on your CV is the ‘Personal Profile’. This introductory paragraph should be short, sweet and to the point. Keep it to no more than 100 – 150 words long. Lengthy essay-like profile descriptions are a major turn-off to a recruiter. Avoid waffle and clichéd statements like: “I am a team player who can work well individually”.
- Use universal conventions. Once you have concluded the personal profile section of your CV, your work experience should be presented in the following way: Your most recent employment followed by the dates you worked, title of the role, the name of the company and your duties and responsibilities.
- Be consistent. Keep the structure and formatting of your CV the same throughout the document. Jarring layout changes are off-putting to the person reading your CV.
- Include your education history and qualifications after the work experience section of your CV.
- Use bullet points. Explain the duties and responsibilities of your previous employment in one or two lines. Avoid lumping your work experience into large unsightly paragraphs.
- Reserve one section of the CV for your personal achievements. Examples of the types of achievements you should include are awards or successful projects you worked on.
- Don’t make your CV too long. The majority of recruiters make their judgements on an applicant based on what they read in the opening third of the document. Keep the length of your CV to no more than two pages.
- Don’t include the names of your references on the CV. At the very bottom of the final page include the sentence: “References available on request”. This will give you time to contact the people you would like to use as references and confirm their availability to be used in such a capacity.
- Don’t include details about hobbies and interests. With space on your two-page CV at a premium you should avoid irrelevant content like this. The only time when such information might be included is if you have no previous working experience.
- Don’t include any spelling mistakes in your CV. This one should be self-explanatory. Including spelling or grammatical errors will send out the wrong signal to a recruiter.