Pimp your CV

       

Joshua Rutherford

If you are trying to put together a quality CV, you may often have difficulty with creating a CV that is going to have a mass appeal with a number of prospective employers. Building a quality CV and making sure that you can connect with more employers really just requires a bit of practice and a few small tips. As with a lot of things in life, preparation is key and having all the information at hand before you apply for a job or indeed a loan is incredibly important. Here are some of the top ways that you can improve your CV for the future.

Create notes for yourself first

Having notes on some of the details that you would like to include with your CV can be an excellent start. Preparing to write your CV and including all of the elements that you would like to deliver with your CV will help you to plan out the writing process. Start with a pen and paper and list all of your work experience and accomplishments. This can help you to identify the highlights that you would want to promote to a prospective employer. It can get you thinking about what is worth mentioning most on your CV and what does not need to be mentioned. In most cases a CV should be limited to around two pages maximum if you want it to be properly structured. Extremely long CVs that include all of your work experience, or a long and rambling story, will most probably be ignored.

Find a balance

Many people have a habit of listing skills they don't have much experience with or overstating some of their experiences in their CV. Creating a CV that accurately portrays your skills and highlights some of the stronger aspects of your career is an important step. Highlight skills that you are particularly confident about and share stories about areas where you accomplished something rather than overstating skills that you think they are looking for. There's no point in going overboard when it comes to representing yourself if you can be easily found out later in the process. Strike a balance and highlight some of your strongest skills with appropriate keywords that can interest an employer.



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Words to avoid

Everyone has probably used these generally pointless words in a CV at some point, and while technically, these words are not necessarily negative, they are definitely unnecessary. Employers are going to take it as a given that you possess these attributes as what is the alternative? That you are not hardworking, trustworthy or reliable? Think creatively when using adjectives.

  • Hard-working
  • Trustworthy
  • Reliable
  • Motivated
  • Team player
  • Focused
  • Results orientated


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Your interests section

Including a personal interest section on your CV can often be a great way to show that you can fit in with the corporate culture at the company you are applying to. If you can connect with the interests of other employees or work at socialising with the person who is going to be hiring you, can often lead to greater levels of success with your application. Showing that you do outside work in the community or that you have got some applicable interests for the position can lead to a greater standing in your application. A great example of when interests can help you might be when applying to the position of a manager at an athletic apparel company and listing your passions for marathon running on your CV. If you can think of some of your personal interests that might work particularly well as a connection for a future job, these are well worth adding to your CV.

A prominent reference section

The end of your CV should always be populated with at least two contacts in the reference section. Leaving your reference section as an on-request feature, may lead to some employers not even calling you back. Putting in references and contact information from an educational reference as well as a previous employer can lead to some powerful responses with your CV. Be sure to ask your referees ahead of time before citing them on your CV. This will help them to appropriately prepare some responses regarding your past experience and how they can represent you to a prospective employer.



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Other top tips

More tips to help you make the most of your skillset. Check out these ideas:

Structuring your CV in a format that is commonly found in a word processor may not always be the best move. Finding a more professional or premium theme for your CV may be a much better idea instead. A quality CV template that isn't commonly seen by prospective hiring managers will capture their attention especially if it's easy to read and it highlights all of your skills.

Before you hit the job market and start applying to new positions you should strongly consider the idea of getting a proof-reader or even a close friend or family member to look over your CV to make sure that everything reads right. If you are working with a workplace recruitment agency/professional placement agency you can often find individuals who are willing to work with you to improve your CV and tailor it to your career path.

Having a CV that is specified for one career path or a particular position can be a huge asset when you are applying over other people that simply have one generic CV. Consider picking out certain skills or a series of traits that would make a perfect candidate for the position that you are applying to. Customise your CV with some of these traits and with a selection of items that can improve your standing with a hiring professional. This can take a little bit of extra time but with the assistance of multiple CVs you can have a far greater rate of return when it comes to getting call backs after applications. It really shows how much you would value the position when you are willing to spend as much time creating the perfect CV and showcasing your skills as an applicant.

The two main styles of CV that have become very popular are the reverse chronological order as well as a skills-based CV. If you have an extensive amount of previous work experience in the same field that you are applying to you may want to go with a reverse chronological CV. If you are applying to a field that you don't have the same level of experience in, you could consider a skills-based CV as this will highlight the various skills that you have picked up throughout your career.

The contact information that you include should be one of the top aspects of your CV. Without your contact information at the top of your CV you could be missing out on a variety of call backs. It needs to be highlighted near the top of your CV including items like your email, phone number, and potentially even some social media links.

A brief personal statement will help you to instantly connect with a prospective employer. Usually this statement is around 1 to 2 sentences and should be customized for every single employer that you're going to apply to.

Command attention

Work at commanding attention whilst also offering some input as to why you would be a great fit for the position. Focusing in on creating a quality personal statement will really help you to work on highlighting some of your top skills.

Build subsections

The biggest subsections of your CV will start with items like your education, your employment history, your achievements as well as some of your personal interests to fill out the list. From here you can take some of the notes that you created early on and fill out some of the lists and subsections that should fill out the rest of your CV. Making sure that various elements are organised into subsections is a great way to build a CV that's easy to scan by a prospective employer. No employer wants to go through a CV that they have to read like a novel. While this method can let you put an extensive amount of information on the same page, bullet points and list style features will always be much easier to read. A CV needs to read in a very concise manner and this means outlining the right bullet points in each of your subsections.

Conclusion

Consider some of these top tips and more when you are working at improving your CV writing skills so that you can land a better shot at moving up in your career. Following some of these tips and working with others to craft a better CV will help you to make sure you can see greater success and future callbacks.

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