Usually a CV should be no more than two pages – and that’s two pages of A4 paper! Employers spend, an average, just 8 seconds looking at any one CV, and a surefire way of landing yourself on the no pile is to send them your entire life story. Keep it punchy, to the point, and save those niggly little details for the interview.
We’ve all done it. Whizzed the same CV out to lots of employers to save time… Stop! Take the time to change your CV for each role that you apply for. Research the company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. They will appreciate the obvious effort..
Don’t just assume an employer will see how your experience relates to their job. Instead, use a short personal statement to explain why you are the best person for the job. This should be reflected in your cover letter as well.
We are a cynical bunch and leaving obvious gaps on your CV immediately makes employers suspicious – and they won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. If you’ve been out of work it can be a worry but just put a positive spin on it. Did you do a course, volunteer work or develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork or project management? If so, shout about it!
You should keep your CV up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don’t later forget something that could be important.
Employers DO look for mistakes on CVs and if they find them, it makes you look really bad. If you’re unsure then use a spellchecker and ask someone else to double-check what you’ve written. And don’t ignore the most common CV mistakes
Everyone lies on their CV, right? NO! Stop! Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can’t answer questions on what you claim to know. And that can be VERY awkward!
This may sound dull but by backing up your achievements with numbers it makes selling yourself much easier. When writing your work history, don’t just say that you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six-month period. Get it? Big numbers are especially good (although don’t forget point 7 of our list!).
We live in a world where image is everything, and that also goes for your CV. Take some time to pretty it up… Use bullet points and keep sentences short. Use the graphic design trick of leaving plenty of white space around text and between categories to make the layout easy on the eye.
Understanding key information about the company you’re interviewing with can help you go into your interview with confidence. Using the company’s website, social media posts and recent press releases will provide a solid understanding of the company’s goals and how your background makes you a great fit.
Prepare your answer to the common question: “Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role with our company?” The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role—it’s your personal elevator pitch.
You may want to print it out and begin underlining specific skills the employer is looking for. Think about examples from your past and current work that align with these requirements.
During the interview, you will likely be asked about specific work you’ve completed in relation to the position. After reviewing the job description, think of work you’ve done in past jobs, clubs or volunteer positions that show you have experience and success doing the work they require.
Interviews are a two-way street. Employers expect you to ask questions: they want to know that you’re thinking seriously about what it would be like to work there. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking your interviewers:
Take at least five copies of your printed resume on clean paper in case of multiple interviewers. Highlight specific accomplishments on your copy that you can easily refer to and discuss. Bring a pen and a small notebook. Prepare to take notes, but not on your smartphone or another electronic device. Write information down so that you can refer to these details in your follow-up thank-you notes. Maintain eye contact as much as possible.
Don’t forget the little things—shine your shoes, make sure your nails are clean and tidy, and check your clothes for holes, stains, pet hair and loose threads. Display confident body language and a smile throughout.
While it can seem tempting to embellish on your skills and accomplishments, interviewers find honesty refreshing and respectable. Focus on your key strengths and why your background makes you uniquely qualified for the position.
Companies want to hire problem solvers who overcome tough situations. If you’re feeling discouraged about your current job, focus on talking about what you’ve gained from that experience and what you want to do next.
“To whom it may concern” is one of the fastest ways to get your application deleted. Always try to address your letter to a specific person — usually the hiring manager or department head. Include their name, title, company and address at the very top below the date.
Your opening line doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it should be the complete opposite, according Harvard’s career experts. Keep it simple and straightforward: State why you’re writing, the position you’re applying for and, if applicable, how you found the job listing.
You’re not writing a 1,000-word essay that summarizes your resume. The cover letter is your chance to explain why you’re genuinely interested in the company and its mission. No need to make it super formal, either. Use your own voice and add some personal flourishes to make the letter more interesting.
The closing of your letter should: Reiterate your interest in the position Thank the reader for his or her consideration State that you look forward hearing back from them Include your Digital signature at the very bottom