Whether you are job seeking in a difficult climate when jobs are scarce or in a booming market when making the right move is vital, it is important to ensure your CV makes an impression on hiring managers when you apply for a role. Research shows that employers scan rather than read CV’s, so consider the following points to increase the likelihood that your CV stands out for the right reasons.
- Be aware of the cultural norms in the country in which you are applying to work in. An eight-page CV might be normal in South Arica while in the US, it is more common to be a one-page document.
- Ensure your contact details are listed at the top and are accurate.
- Portray yourself as positively as possible. Be honest, but don’t be afraid to sell your skills!
- Put your employment and education in reverse chronological order with the most recent experience appearing first.
- Adapt your CV to the job you are applying for. Target the industry, profession, and job description for each job you are interested in.
- Focus on your most recent positions, providing the most information about them.
- Highlight and quantify (if possible) your achievements. For example: “met 100% of sales targets and grew the division by 25% within the first year of employment.”
- Avoid speaking about yourself in the third person.
Presentation and Formatting
- Avoid colored paper, fancy fonts, and pictures/graphics.
- Use a sensible, professional font and ensure it is consistent throughout your document.
- Use bullet points; be concise and to the point.
- Always double check (and check again!) for typos or grammatical errors.
- Show it to your family and friends to get their opinions and ensure it is a true representation of you!
Hobbies & Interests
- Hobbies and interests should be the second to last item on your resume before reference details.
- Avoid listing hobbies that might allow a future employer to make a non-professional judgement on you. For example, do not list hobbies such as “drinking”, “clubbing”, “partying”, etc.
- Be honest! Employers want to see well-rounded candidates, but never lie to make yourself seem more exciting or interesting.
- When applying to jobs online, ensure you provide a sensible email address such as email@example.com. Email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com will not create a good first impression and could be a reason for immediate disqualification from a role, regardless of your experience.
- Remember that more and more employers are using the internet and social media sites, so be aware of the personal information you have listed online and how accessible it is to the general public.
- When applying for roles via email, be sure to use full words and proper sentences. Do not use slang or abbreviated texts, as it could cost you an interview.
- Always ensure your spelling and grammar check is switched on in your email account.