I have just read this article on LinkedIn by Susan Ricker regarding writing a credible CV. The advice here is top notch and well worth considering if you are looking for work or just want to update a dusty old CV.
I am currently running CV and Interview courses for Job Centre Plus in the UK for people who are unemployed, the areas discussed by Susan are very much the theme of the CV element of the course. However it is surprising how many people are still relying on a single paper based CV when applying for roles. I equate a CV to Google, when you put a search criteria into Google it looks at the keyword and pops up the best website for that particular search. You CV is the same, employers have a list of key words and skills they require from you and if your CV reflect those key words it will float to the top of the pile. Also remember that the first thing to see your CV is generally a computer not a person, so again relevant content is essential.
My top five tips are:
1) Use the Job Description (JD) it is a very valuable tool, you can subtly change your CV to reflect the keywords and phrases the employer requires and also begin to plan answers to interview questions. If a JD says the role requires someone with proven attention to detail, you can pretty much guarantee that you will be asked a questions like “give me an example of when you demonstrated attention to detail?” have an answer prepared and make sure this skill is mentioned in the CV.
2) When you complete the key skills and achievements section of the CV have a separate list with as many of these as you can think of (I have 25) use no more than 6 or 7 of them on the actual CV, however use the ones that are most relevant to the role.
3) Use a good template. Don’t try to be funky and quirky with your CV, an employer wants to be able to digest your CV and get a clear indication of your capabilities without fuss or fanfare. If they have 100 CVs to read through they do not have time in the rest of their busy day to get their head around your innovative new CV format. Stick to a recognized format because you will make your potential employer’s life simpler by doing so and they will thank you for it.
4) Don’t try to be funny. 55% body language, 38% Tone of voice and 7% words, this is the accepted break down of how we communicate face to face. So a CV or email looses 93% of the way we communicate with each other meaning it is very easy to misinterpret jokes, emotion and subjective points. Keep it objective and factual, these are a couple of real examples of what people put into CVs or covering letters. I bet they didn’t get an interview!