Writing a CV can feel like writing an assignment at school without the marking guidelines. You know that the hiring manager will be judging the CV layout and what you write, although you’re not quite sure what they are judging it against. Take the guesswork out of which skills to put on your CV by following the tips CV specialists swear by.
Top Tips for Writing a CV According to CV Specialists
Engaging CV Layout
Your CV layout matters a lot. If you’ve been putting your CV into an old Word document thinking that’s going to do the trick, you can think again. While there’s nothing wrong with Word document CVs themselves, they look exactly the same as 80% of applications. This makes it even harder for you to stand out.
Why not show your point of difference as soon as the hiring manager lays eyes on your CV by switching up the CV format? A well-presented CV that’s easy to read and utilises colour certainly looks a lot more engaging than a bland black and white Word document.
Shorter is Better
Many people keep every job they’ve ever had on their CV, dating back as far as high school. However, CV specialists will tell you that just like your cover letter, everything on your CV should be fully relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Include relevant past positions, skills, qualifications, and experience. You can take everything else off it. If you’re applying for an intermediate level accounting role, keep your previous accounting positions on the CV but take off your high-school job waitressing at the local café.
Skills to Put on Your CV
When writing their CVs, many people make the mistake of simply listing their past jobs without describing the skills they used or developed during that time. It’s best to take a situation-based approach where you first think about what skills to put on your CV that will be relevant. Then you can start by writing down the task required, what you did, and which skills you used to complete that task.
For example, don’t just say that you were a call operator who ‘handled phone queries’. Instead, say, ‘I was responsible for answering questions over the phone, which required an empathetic manner and problem-solving approach. This enabled me to build upon my relationship management and communication skills’.
This technique is excellent for when you are applying to work in a new industry and need to demonstrate transferrable skills. So, you may have never been a receptionist before, but the above example would show the employer that you still have the relevant skills required.
Add Contact Details to Your CV Layout
Hopefully, after reading your CV, the hiring manager will want to get in touch with you. Make it as easy as possible for them by adding all of your relevant contact information to your CV – this includes your name, email address, and phone number. A home address is not relevant, as the employer is unlikely to mail you a letter.
CV specialists will agree that you should add contact details to your CV even if you add them elsewhere in the application. This just makes it easier for the manager to be able to contact you instead of searching for your details in a different place.
Triple Check for Errors
A badly written CV can detract from your application, even if you have plenty of related experience. Double-check it for spelling errors in addition to using the computer’s spell-check. After you are pretty sure it’s perfect, get a friend or family member to look over it just to make sure.
After all, if you claim to be detail-oriented or well organised but your CV has errors on it, the hiring manager is not likely to believe you. Reading your CV is the first interaction they will have with you, so make your first impression count.
Make Sure It’s Easy to Read
You may think that using long words and complicated jargon makes you seem like you know the industry – but don’t fall into this trap. The simpler, the better. A hiring manager won’t be impressed by your overly complex vocabulary; they just want to know what your skills are. They don’t want to decode your CV to find the information they want – just present it to them, plain and simple.
Consider what type of CV you would like to read if you were hiring for this position and write according to that.
Now that you know what CV specialists recommend for your CV, it’s time to get started. Sit down and brainstorm the positions and skills you have that are relevant to the industry you want to get into. Start crafting a CV but remember to tailor it to each job you apply for so that it remains fully relevant – you’re more likely to land an interview that way. What are you waiting for? Browse job listings at Shopless now to see if you can find your ideal next position.