The first step during any job search should be revamping your CV so it stands out to your potential employer. We’ve seen our fair share of CVs over the years and it always surprises us how many people miss out the basics.
Your CV is very important. It’s your opportunity to make a positive first impression and it will be the main reason you do or don’t get selected for interview. It’s your first step to securing your dream job.
In the simplest of terms, you should think of your CV as a marketing tool. It has a job to do and that is to get the recipient to say yes to an interview. It’s the interview that will get you the job but the CV has to get you the interview.
These days, it’s pretty much guaranteed that your CV will be first viewed on a screen. Be mindful that the job you’re applying for may have already had many other applications and it’s unlikely that an employer is using time and resource to print each applicants CV.
Make sure you’ve designed your CV with this factor in mind, this goes for cover letters and portfolios too. Save it in a widely compatible format like a PDF so that it’s simple to open and read.
Utilise your prime real estate
The top section of page one of your CV is the most important as this is your prime real estate. It’s the bit that is guaranteed to be read and it’ll play the biggest part in shaping an initial impression of you and your application.
Instead of using the top part of your CV for contact information, use it to give the reader exactly what they’re looking for. Cover the ways you meet the job specification and highlight the skills the employer has asked for. Employers want to feel that you’ve tailored your application to them, so make the information you want them to know is easy to find.
Use this space to tell them in no uncertain terms, that you have the experience to do the job. Give them a reason to read on. If an employer wants to interview you, they’ll find your contact details. It really doesn’t matter where you put them, just make sure they’re in there.
Tailor it to the role
Don’t send the same CV to every job you apply for. Make sure you’re considering your audience and their requirements. Tailor it to their needs.
If you’re applying for work within the creative sector, add some creativity to your CV. If you’re applying for a Graphic Designer role, your CV is an opportunity to showcase your skills. Don’t go overboard though. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to say no, so steer clear of anything that can allow someone to form a strong opinion ahead of meeting you. Style it out using a nice typeface, good use of white space and elements of colour or keylines. Don’t forget to include a link to your portfolio or work examples to prevent us having to request them.
If you’re a Developer then including a GitHub link where a hiring manager can see some examples of your code, or some example URLs would be a great idea and would put meat on the bones of your CV.
Whilst all CVs should be well written, if you’re applying for a role that requires the written word, such as a Copywriter or Content Editor position, pay close attention to what you’re writing. You should use the CV as an opportunity to show-off your wordsmith skills and please make sure you proofread your CV because any grammatical or spelling mistakes will guarantee you go directly to the no pile.
Don’t limit yourself
Traditionally, two pages maximum has been a golden rule when it comes to CV writing, however, times are changing. With your CV now being opened on a digital device, it’s a lot easier to search and scroll through the content.
Whilst that doesn’t mean employers suddenly have an appetite for 15-page long CVs, it does mean you have some flexibility.
If you have a broad skillset and there’s a lot of your background that’s relevant to the role you’re applying for, you might find that you exceed two pages. If your CV is a scrollable PDF for example, you could spill over on to a third page. It’s much better to use more pages than to hold back any information.
Put yourself in the employer’s shoes
Before you hit submit, as well as proofing your CV to make sure it’s clear and concise, pause for a moment, re-read the job ad and put yourself in the employers’ shoes.
Ask yourself, what will they want from my CV and have I actually given it to them? If you’re unsure you’ve ticked all the boxes or if some of the information you’ve included seems irrelevant – change it.
Need help with making your CV standout?
Feel free to reach out! We can have a look over it for you and even help you get it in front of your ideal employer.