Putting your CV together? Check out my hints & tips….
CV’s and resumes – they’re a minefield, aren’t they? Ask the opinion of 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers. Picture or no picture? Marital status? Word or PDF? And since some of you reading this will be over 40 (and a bit more), what about the grades we got for exams back in school– do we list them or not?
Your CV is about Brand You – it’s your way of telling a future employer or a recruiter how fabulous you are and needs to represent the best version of you.
In no particular order, these are a few things to bear in mind when creating a CV:
Avoid the flashing blue light of the spelling police and make sure you check and double check your grammar, your punctuation and your spelling. Spellcheck was created for a reason.
Font & Style
Choose a formal and professional font for your CV – Calibri or Arial are both smart, contemporary options. Avoid Times New Roman – too old fashioned and Comic Sans – too childish or playful.
Even if you are in the design industry, best not to include too many sexy graphics as this deters the eye from the salient points.
Headers and footers are unnecessary too and take up too much space which can be better used for your experience.
This is a tough one but the golden rule is limit your CV to 3 pages. Babysitting jobs as a teenager or bar work as a student can be omitted.
One school of thought is to include the degree subject and grade from university (if relevant) but omit secondary education. Another option is to leave out all levels of education and start with your first full time role.
An absolute must. This is your sales pitch, the perfect opportunity to let the reader know in a matter of seconds who you are and what you can do. The language you choose to describe yourself can be very informative (to a perceptive reader) so choose your words carefully.
Beneath the Personal Profile, think about listing your key professional achievements. For example, perhaps you increased turnover in a business/ you sold a million widgets/ you designed a product that is now sold in a large department store/you wrote a staff handbook which is used globally. You can also use this space to talk about a promotion or staff you have managed.
Pictures are an absolute ‘No’, unless of course you are applying to replace Naomi Campbell.
Personal details should be kept to a minimum and include no more than where you live (main town is sufficient), your mobile phone number and your email address. Neither your Date of Birth nor your marital status/number of children are relevant.
Think of your CV as simply being the chronological list of jobs you have held and their related responsibilities – flowery, descriptive essays around each role are absolutely not necessary. Keep it brief and to the point.
Your cover letter, on the other hand, is your opportunity to be friendly and engaging and tell someone why you are applying, what skills you can bring to the table and why they should employ you.