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Ensure your CV stands out

30 / 03 / 2015
Ensure your CV stands outWhen it comes to finding the perfect job, sometimes it pays to have the perfect CV.

Many people wrongly believe that a CV is just a way of getting a foot in the door and the important stage of the recruitment process is an interview. However, without a tailored and professional CV, you may not even make it on to the candidate shortlist.

Taking some time to get that CV looking its best and ensure you stand out from other applicants is a worthwhile investment in helping you get that perfect position.

One size does not fit all

When applying for lots of jobs it can be hard to remember that each application needs to be tailored and adapted to fit exactly what an employer is looking for. It can be tempting to just produce a blanket CV and then be able to email it off to any position that catches your eye.

This will of course save you time, but it isn't going to help you get that perfect job. Make sure you do your research and tweak aspects of your CV to help address the job description and skills they are looking for to improve your chances of success.

Make it professional

There are plenty of templates and formats for CVs, but it is worth remembering whatever layout you go for, it needs to look clear and professional.

The person reading your CV will have the task of shortlisting potential candidates and will want to be able to find out more about you easily and relatively quickly. Therefore, do not make the format too confusing - it will not pay to be a bit 'wacky' when putting your CV together - this may work in the creative arts sector, but is unlikely to impress in the financial services industry.

For the same reason stay away from non-traditional fonts as this will make it harder to read and will likely leave your CV on the thanks, but no thanks pile.

Remember you just need your CV to make you stand out as a potential new employee - it does not need to tell your life story. Keep it brief and the general advice is that it should not be more than two sides of A4.

You will be given the chance to expand on your skills, qualifications and experience at the interview round, so do not feel you need to include everything in the CV. This may leaving out qualifications that are not directly related to the position – it is unlikely the HR department will want to know when you got your 25-metre swimming badge.  

Do not exaggerate

A CV should certainly showcase your skills, but it is not worth adding in extra qualifications or skills that you simply do not have. If the job you are applying for is too far a reach for your current experience, then consider taking some additional courses or getting an internship in a relevant position, so that when you do apply you are not having to bend the truth to make your application seem credible.

Have someone check it over

There is nothing worse than getting a CV that has a mistake in it and it certainly isn't the way to go about making a good first impression with a potential employer. Therefore, make sure you get someone you trust to give it a look over before you send it off. A fresh set of eyes will be able to pick out any spelling mistakes or a date inaccuracy.

It may worth considering one of the many checking services that offer to assess your CV and give you advice on how to improve the information you are providing. University and college career services may also be able to help you tailor your CV to the correct audience.

Make sure your references are suitable

Including references is a vital part of any CV and you need to make sure you pick the correct ones. Avoid relatives or friends unless you have no other option and it is usually helpful to include your current employer - even if you stress you do not want them to be contacted without your permission.

It is also polite to approach your referees before putting them down on the CV. They are likely to be more than happy to wax lyrical about your suitability, but it is common courtesy to let them know they may be contacted.

Ensure your covering letter counts

Finally, no matter how good your CV is you will still need to make sure the covering letter or email is just as well considered. Make sure you do not rush it and make it appear an afterthought. In a competitive job market, it pays to put in the time and effort at the application stage to secure that dream opportunity.ADNFCR-1684-ID-801781681-ADNFCR