There are basic fundamentals when it comes to CV writing, including your previous work experience, what you studied in school and in college and your references. But below are some tips that go beyond the bare essentials and will help your CV to make a lasting impression on employers.
Change the template
When initially putting together a CV almost everyone will google, “CV template” or “CV example”, and then follow the lay-out they find online. The important thing about a CV is that all of the information included is relevant and clear so an employer can quickly read your CV and take in all of the information you have laid out with relative ease. You can still do this and also change the template. Instead of having all of the information in sections one after the other, include a coloured side bar which lists your credentials such as competencies and languages. Not only will this free up space to include more relevant information in the main body of your CV, but it will immediately catch the eye of an employer and your CV will warrant further inspection. You want your name to stick in the mind of an employer and making a simple change like this will mean your CV will differ from the others that have been accepted.
Applying for jobs after graduation can be a tiresome and time-consuming process but putting time and effort into each application is worth it. Although a unique cover letter for every job is a must, you can also change your CV to highlight certain skills depending on the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in marketing make sure to highlight and flesh out how you developed relevant marketing skills and what marketing tools you are proficient with. If you are going for a job in IT, the same applies. If you have a strong CV, then it will be relevant for any job you apply for (provided you have the relevant skills and experience) but making these small tweaks can really give you the edge.
Tell a story
Most CV’s can read as a list of various facts and figures and after a day of combing through CV’s they can all start to blend into one for an employer. Outline your story from start to finish and put everything in the correct order. Tell the employer about your first job and how that then led on to your second. What skills did you develop in your first job that you used in your second? In college how have you changed as you progressed? What modules did you do in first year and what are you doing now? If you have progressed through a sports team form underage level to senior level then tell them about this as it shows that you have patience, determination and loyalty. Tell the reader of your CV a chronological story as this will keep them engaged whether it’s the first CV of the day they’re reading or the last.
All achievements matter
If you have any sporting, academic or previous work-related achievements don’t forget to include them in your CV and draw attention to them. If you play football and you won a competition make sure to mention this as it demonstrates that you possess a lot of traits that employers are looking for. If the achievement was in a team sport, make sure to mention that communication was key in your success as this is a skill employers believe graduates lack or are weak in. If you like to run in your spare-time and have competed in any races, you can include that as it shows a high level of patience and determination. If you achieved something at work whether that be the employee of the month or you underwent a course to improve your wages, and even if it was in a sector which doesn’t relate to the current job you’re applying for, e.g. retail, it still shows your drive and passion for your current place of work.
Back everything up
A lot of people will use the same words to describe themselves on a CV. Words that constantly appear are, “driven”, “motivated”, “passionate”, “a team-player” and “leadership”. These are just hollow words unless there is evidence on your CV which backs this up. If you include any of the above words in your CV, make sure you provide evidence that demonstrates this. For example, if you say that you are a “driven team player”, include a small example which backs up this claim. Remember that everyone will be describing themselves in a light that makes them ideal for the job in question so if you have the evidence to back this up, your personality will come across and you will be sure to impress any protentional employer.
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