Last edited by Nikki; 20th December 2006 at 06:35 PM.
Our top five tips will give your CV maximum impact:
1. Keep it concise
Recruiters are often faced with mountains of CVs and don’t have the
time or patience to trawl through a rambling document. Remember that your
CV is only the first step, a way of getting your foot in the door, so keep
it punchy. Make it no more than two sides of A4 paper and save the real
detail for your interview.
2. Tailor your CV
Take time to adapt your CV for each individual role you apply for.
Research the company and use the job ad to gauge what it is looking for in
an employee. Link your skills and experience to the requirements of the
role. Similarly, if you are logging your CV with a job site database, look
at the sort of jobs on the site and the employers who are advertising, and
rework your CV accordingly.
3. Don't leave gaps
Gaps invite the recruiter to guess what you were up to, so instead of
allowing them to make their own assumptions give them the details. Even in
time out of employment you can develop soft skills such as communication,
teamwork or project management. You should update your CV regularly,
regardless of whether you are actively jobseeking, to avoid having to
recall distant points in your career.
4. Ensure it is free of errors
One of the easiest ways for recruiters to weed out weaker CVs is to scan
them for errors. If you fail to check your CV for basic spelling and
grammatical mistakes, you are setting yourself up for a fall at the first
hurdle. Most errors can be rooted out using your PC’s spell-checker,
but you should also ask someone else to read your CV and give you their
5. Tell the truth
Its one thing to highlight the positives on your CV, but telling
blatant lies is a bad idea. You are highly likely to be caught out and
your application rejected. Many companies check the facts – such as
qualifications – that candidates supply. And a good interviewer will
soon spot any inconsistency in your story, even if it concerns your leisure
activities. It would be hugely embarrassing to be caught out by an
interviewer who is an expert in your half-baked hobby.
A Big Bump... And some avoidable "CV cliches"
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]Avoiding CV cliches
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by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Acting as your personal advertisement, your CV enables buyers (employers) to see what you can offer and the presentation and structure of your CV is crucial. Unfortunately, too many people follow the tradition of using stock phrases and ‘key’ words that they think will help them stand out from the crowd. Due to this overuse, many recruiters have become immune to certain phrases.
Not making your CV stand out from the crowd can seriously damage your job search chances. Here are the most common cliches and some suggested alternatives.
“Team player” – as it’s unlikely that anyone would claim the opposite, statements like this become meaningless. The most effective way to get your future employers attention is to demonstrate your experience by giving a real-life example. For instance, have you worked within a team to achieve a specific goal? What was your role?
“Project management skills” – this is just a fancy way of saying that you are organised. Employers want to know what you have done in your current job that demonstrates your abilities. Have you organised an event or managed a budget? If so, tell them.
“Results orientated” – …and so you should be. After all, employers are running businesses and they want a return on their investment in you. Convey and quantify your accomplishments and your potential to solve your future employer’s problems. Did you increase sales? If so, by how much? Did you save money for your organisation? Did you achieve your targets in the face of difficult circumstances?
“People management skills” – does that mean that you were a Manager or simply that you got on well with your customers and colleagues? ‘Management’ implies that you held a position of responsibility over other staff and can confuse employers. So, opt for words such as ‘supervised’ or coordinated’ instead.
“Responsible for” – everybody is responsible for something in their job. And, just because you are responsible for something does not necessarily make you a responsible person. Did you take on duties that were not part of your job spec? Did you train staff or suggest/introduce a new initiative? Did you rescue a failing project and turn it around?
For those of us old enough to remember Max Bygraves who famously said “I want to tell you a story”, that is exactly what you need to do on your CV – tell recruiters your career story and answer the main question in their minds, ‘What can this person do for my business?’
When writing your CV, bear in mind the role that you applying and tailor it accordingly by focusing on providing evidence relevant to the position that will support your application.
By using examples of past experience you will put yourself in a stronger position and stand out from your peers. So, bin the jargon and clichés and get personal.
Writing a winning CV can be a challenge, but by putting in the mileage you will have a document that will make employers take action and invite you for an interview. Then the real selling begins!
Writing your targeted CV
To produce a Targeted CV you will need to decide which attributes and achievements will be appropriate for the job you are applying for. As well as including past experiences you can also include future related skills that you may not have had actual work experience in. For example, if you have recently undertaken a course you can include any activities you performed whilst on the course.
Your work history and education history may be included after you have described your capabilities and achievements. Try and keep a Targeted CV on one page of A4 paper. You may have to prepare a Targeted CV for each individual job you are targeting.
Only list the most important qualifications. If you are a graduate you do not really need to list your 'O' Levels/GCSEs, just indicate the number of 'O' levels gained. Unless you have just completed a degree or MBA, this section should go after work experience. In the case of recently completed education, if your work experience is more likely to be of interest to an employer, you should still put work experience first. You could perhaps mention your recent qualifications in your profile or in your cover letter.
Much more information [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]