If you are actively searching for your next challenge, often one of the hardest first steps in applying for a new role is knowing how to put together not only an effective CV, but one that is altogether outstanding. It can feel daunting - especially if you've been with a company for a long time. You may be new to the job market after graduating from school or university, or returning to the job market after a period of time out.
We hope that by outlining some simple tips for you, we can make the process easier and help ensure that you stand out in the crowd...
1. Pick a Template
Find a CV template that lends itself to your particular skill set, experience and chosen sector, but make sure it's clear and easy to read. Some are specifically designed with a more creative focus in mind which are perfect for designers or marketing types, whilst others are structured to emphasise your business experience and achievements in a clean, fuss free style. There are plenty of different types available both online and in Word for example, so take advantage of these free resources and make them work for you! Zety is a fantastic website with tons of free templates and advice on CVs. CV Library also has a section on CV templates which serves as a useful guide for how to craft yours. And, more importantly, not only what content to include but what to leave out. Go and check them out.
2. Consider Your Audience
If you've set your sights on working in a particular organisation, put yourself in your audience's shoes and try to pick a style of formatting that fits with your intended employer's branding. Check the look and feel of the company's website including the fonts and colours that they use. By tailoring the visual style and even the language that you use, it can act as a strong subconscious signal to the recruiting managers. It makes a statement that you're a good fit with their company culture, which is in many respects the first major hurdle to conquer.
3. Make a Plan
Think about what you intend to write before you start, and provide a concise, punchy summary about yourself at the beginning of your CV. This creates a strong first impression and should include what makes you unique. In other words, what sets you apart from the rest of the field and how you can solve your prospective employer's pain points. If you are applying for a specific role, match your skills to the job description and highlight these first. Use plain language and don't be afraid to use bullet points to make it clear who you are and what you offer.
4. Do I Need To Include My Employment History?
Yes! List each of your previous jobs with the dates you were employed. Use the month & year. It makes it much easier for any prospective employer to track your employment history. Address any gaps openly and honestly to explain them or why you took time out between jobs. These past couple of years so many of us have been impacted by the fallout from Covid-19, so if you are currently unemployed as a result, don't be afraid to show this on your CV. Demonstrate what you're doing with your time now, whether that's taking a course to learn new skills or volunteering to help others. Increasingly now, many employers give a significant amount of credence to candidates having emotional intelligence and empathy. These traits are undoubtedly recognised as being crucial when it comes to being able to connect with others on a human level, which in turn can secure a colleague or customer‘s trust and is key in achieving brand loyalty.
5. Quantify Your Success
List your achievements and add measurable outcomes for each role, i.e. the sales in £'s that you made versus your quarterly or annual target, your call rate versus your peers, the size of the budgets you've managed & the amount of cost improvements you've delivered. It's worth keeping track of exactly how you performed against your key targets for each post you've held so that you can present these clearly on your CV when you need to. To see clearly defined, quantified outcomes on a CV is wonderful. It makes our day every time we receive one, because it helps us to help you so much more easily.
In an increasingly competitive world, if an employer can understand what you bring to the table within seconds of casting their eye over your CV application then your CV has done its job.
If you need support to write your CV, do please ask us for help. We offer this service free of charge to our candidates.