With my help you will leave today’s class with the skills you need to write a CV that will stand out and get you the employment that you deserve.
Number one, let’s start by asking ourselves what does a recruiter want from a CV?
A CV does not get you a job, what a CV actually gets you is a job interview.
And it’s so important that you remember this when you write one.
Applicants often feel pressure to fit absolutely everything they have ever done or achieved into their CV, when it’s often considered better to prioritise and highlight just a few things.
It’s claimed that employers look at a CV for around seven seconds.
So when you’re writing one you should keep this in mind.
Some of the first things that will jump out at them are any mistakes.
I’ve taken in many CVs in my career so far and as soon as I see a spelling mistake my mind was made up.
There is absolutely no excuse for a mistake on a CV, you need to check it over until you know it word for word, off by heart.
If you struggle with the language or spelling in general then you absolutely must get it proofread and checked over by somebody else.
If you don’t know anyone who can do this for you, find a proofreader online and pay them for their time, it’s an investment into your future.
The next thing that recruiters look for are skills and experience.
The relevant skills and experience, with the key word here being relevant, need to stand out.
It’s likely that they will be scanning or skim-reading your CV rather than reading everything on it. Later on in the class we will talk about tailoring your CV to make it relevant.
Finally recruiters will try to find out a bit more about your personality and your character.
You can’t show so much, but you need to show enough to get you through to the interview stage where they’ll try and find out a lot more.
We will also talk about showing a bit of character later on in the lesson.
Now we should ask ourselves, which type of CV we should write.
There are two main types of CV, the chronological CV and the skills based CV.
There are some other types and we will discuss those in this segment also.
It’s important for you to choose the right type of CV for the job that you’re applying for and for your own circumstances.
Let’s talk about the chronological CV.
As the name suggests, this type lists your experience and achievements chronologically, starting with the most recent.
Take a look at this example of what you might find on a chronological CV.
You can use this CV type if you really want to show how well or how quickly you have progressed in your career or studies.
It’s also a good way to show off that you’ve had continuous employment with no gaps, which we will discuss in a later segment.
Now let’s talk about the skills-based CV, which is also known as a functional CV.
This type shows off your skills and personal qualities as opposed to the history of your employment and education.
Underneath the headline of each skill you can write the roles in which you achieve them and develop them.
Take a look at this example.
This is what a skills-based CV might look like.
You can use this type to mask gaps in your employment or if you’ve had lots of short-term roles like internships and volunteer work.
The best part about this type of CV is that you have much more opportunity to make it relevant to the job that you’re applying for.
Another option is to use a combination or hybrid of both CVs where you stick to the conventional chronological order but you emphasise the skills developed within each role.
Another sort of CV which is becoming more popular is the creative CV.
This CV is all about presentation and can help you show off your design skills and stand out from the crowd.
Using infographics is a great way to display a lot of information in a simple and engaging way.
You could also consider a video CV, which can be a good idea for customer facing roles or an add-on to a traditional CV.
Academic CVs are for those applying for research posts in academia.
They are usually much longer than other CVs and recruiters are more likely to spend longer reading them.
These should emphasise your education, research, publications and experience.
Finally we have the technical CV which is much more directed towards IT roles.
Alongside all of the traditional information found on a CV you’ll need to highlight your technical skills such as programming languages systems and platforms.
So which CV is right for you?
Comment down below with which one you would choose and give reasons.
Now let’s discuss tailoring the CV.
The biggest piece of advice that I can give you is tailor your CV to each job application.
Work on creating a CV template and then create a separate CV file for each individual company.
If 100 people apply for a role, which is not unrealistic, and only 10 people get chosen for an interview, is a one-size-fits-all CV really going to be in the top 10% of all of the applicants?
You want the recruiter to see your CV and think wow, this person could be a perfect fit for our company.
By tailoring your CV, you’re showing that you’re proactive and motivated. It takes time and effort.
It also shows that you’re not just applying to 50 roles in the hope of getting one back.
Now let’s address gaps in your CV.
Recruiters don’t want to see long periods of unemployment but sometimes circumstances can’t be helped.
Gaps are a red flag.
They can suggest that you were fired or that you quit and employers want you to work hard and stick around for a long time.
You really need to minimise their impacts.
Here are some things that you can do. Use your summary statement at the top of the CV to briefly and positively explain why you decided to change roles.
For example after spending five years in the finance industry in 2017, I decided to change career paths. Another thing you can do is use a skills-based CV as we discussed before.
If you’ve got loads of gaps and you can’t explain them all, you really should consider ditching the chronological employment timeline.
Lastly you just need to prepare to talk about it during an interview.
Even if you don’t list the gaps on your CV you might be asked about inconsistencies in your work history and they need valid explanations.
We’ll talk about this in the lesson on interview questions.
If you’re in a CV gap at the moment, start doing something immediately. Get some relevant freelance work, start a blog, take a course.
You can refer to this if gaps come up in interviews.
Now lots of people ask if they should ever be creative with the truth and I think that you should absolutely not.
You need to sell yourself but you don’t want to lie.
Bear in mind that they will probably call your references and if they find out that you’ve been exaggerating or lying you’ll be at the bottom of the pile.
Another thing you want to do is keep it short.
As a rule two sides of A4 maximum, but if it’s feasible, I’d recommend keeping it to one side of A4.
Technical and academic applicants may need more.
If it’s longer than two sides , they just aren’t going to read it all and they might miss out on important information, they could even get a bad vibe from you.
You could also consider including URLs to portfolios, especially for applicants in the creative industry.
You can use a link shortener to create a memorable link that is easily copied or typed into a web browser.
Don’t depend on it as they might not look at it and make sure the link works on all platforms.
You also need to make your CV look smart.
Always submit it as a PDF file. It will work with all operate systems and the format will stay consistent.
You could consider making your CV fancy and adding a layer of design.
My last tip is to make sure that you use the right language.