You have found a job you like the sound of, the employer sounds great and you have the relevant skills they need too. Great! Now all you need is a CV that shows them just how much you want it and how well suited you are. This is your chance to grab the employer’s attention and let them know why you are right for the job to get that interview.
This is the first step to get yourself noticed, so don’t make the mistake of under-selling yourself or being vague with your details. We have split this into three tips to help you get there.
1. Relate your experience to the responsibilities of the job.
Every CV you send out should be suited directly to role you are applying for. Hiring managers are looking for experience that directly relates to what they have described as the accountabilities for the role, so they’re going to scan your CV and look for the bits that match. This does not have to be as difficult as you might think. Even though you may not have experience in doing the job previously, it is almost certain that you will have some skills they are looking for, after all, that’s why you are interested! Highlight specific examples of where you have shown the desired skills, using key words from the job spec so the hiring manager can easily see you are a good fit. Keep this to short sentences or bullet points that are to the point and easy to read. Remember, even though hiring managers are looking for a match in experience, not all examples need to be from employment. There are tons of examples of team work, presentation skills, writing skills and even technical skills that you will have gained from education, so highlight these too.
2. Highlight your achievements.
Try to remember moments you were really proud of, your success stories, where you made an impact and it felt great. Everyone is sure to have these, and your future employer wants to know about them! This could be anything from receiving glowing feedback from a customer to winning employee of the month. The idea is to give examples of how you have helped your employer achieve its goals or improve its service. These moments deserve to be on your CV and help you stand out.
If your achievements are mostly education related, that’s worth adding in as well. Lets say you worked on a design project that won first prize or organised an event that was a hit, these should be on your CV. If you have an online portfolio that showcases this work, even better, you can add in a hyperlink so the hiring manager can see exactly what you are talking about. Again, make sure you are giving examples in a few sentences or bullet points.
3. Structure and Edit.
Now you have all your experience, examples and education in your CV, you want to make sure it is organised into the correct structure and is error free. Proof read your CV a few times before you send it to anyone to check for errors. Get a friend or relative to read it too and see if everything is easy to understand. Any examples should ideally be in a format detailing the situation, the task, the actions you took and the outcome – or STAR examples.
Keep your examples concise and to the point. The employer does not need to know all the details, but they are interested in what you have done and how you have put your skills into action.
The right structure is important and make sure you haven’t made any careless mistakes here. Usually for entry level or junior positions, education is at the top of your CV. This shows you are new to full time employment and fits with jobs that are tailored towards recent graduates or school leavers. This should then be followed by your experience, starting with your most recent employment and the dates you were in the role. This can be followed up with a section for skills. In this section you can give further examples of where you have shown skills that match the job spec. For example this could be Technical Skills or Communication skills, even examples of being Self Motivated are key, depending on what the hiring manager is looking for.
As with everything else, CV writing gets easier and better with practice. Once you have tailored a few CVs to specific roles, you will be doing this in no time! Soon enough you will have a shiny new CV you can’t wait to get in front of employers.
Written by Simran Takhar
Photography courtesy of Desi