You can’t undo a first impression. CV writing expectations have advanced a lot in recent times. Keep at the front of your mind that this is a document that a potential employer uses to make their first judgement about you – so you’ll want to ensure these judgements are positive. Don’t be daunted by the task, we are here to help and give you critical tips to ensure that first impression hits the right mark.
Tips For Great CV Writing
Firstly, your CV can be a fluid document. Don’t be limited by the thought that you can only have one CV. You can make minor tweaks as needed for each role you apply for. This will ensure it is relevant, addresses the selection criteria and it is easy to identify why you are a suitable candidate for the job.
What is your personality like? Ensure that your CV is you reflected on paper. Give time and serious thought to the design elements. Think about the visual appeal. Is it eye- catching? Because that’s a sure-fire way to stand out. Consider the fonts (make sure it is easy to read), the colours and the layout. Make sure it all has your personal flair shining through. There are so many free resources on the internet to get guidance on CV templates. There is no need to stick with a basic Word document in Times New Roman any longer.
Obviously, you need to include basic contact information such as your full name, suburb, state and country, telephone numbers, email address (make sure the e-mail address you use appears professional – email@example.com is not very appropriate past high school) and LinkedIn profile URL if you have one. And that’s it. No need for date of birth, street address or marital status information.
Professional summary – Ensure the first area at the top of your resume is a “summary of experience” and includes specific applicable experience as opposed to generalities. Consider using words from the job description, so that there is a keyword match and you can be recognised as a suitable candidate. This area of your CV should be designed to prove your value proposition and differentiate you from your competition.
Career objective – In this section reference your career objective back to the job applied for to give an indication of what you are looking for in your next career move, with an overview of your key achievements.
Work experience – This should be listed in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent job. Ensure the layout is clear and well ordered.
Start with your Job Title.
Then the dates you commenced and ended (including month and year for both). By only stating the years, rather than the months you started or finished a role you can do yourself a disservice here. See 2016-2017 can mean January 2016 to December 2017 (almost 2 years in the role) alternatively December 2016 to January 2017 (only 8 weeks in the job). See the difference?
Include employer names and location. A brief sentence or two on the organisation can be helpful too.
Then highlight at least one or two key achievements in that role. Quantify your accomplishments where possible. This could also be something you’re extremely proud of.
Then write a paragraph about your primary responsibilities. Use language similar to what is already used in the job description and selection criteria, but be human. At the end of the day, remember a recruiter or hiring manager is a human being and when they read your CV it needs to appeal to their humanity as well.
We advise you not to leave gaps in your CV. If you took a year out, carried out an interim assignment, or travelled for six months, say so.
Education and qualifications – Keep it concise by listing the qualification obtained, year it was completed and the institution you studied through.
Interests – it’s good to know that an individual is well rounded and has a healthy work life balance. Keep it brief, but if you are active and current in any sports or hobbies, add a handful here to demonstrate your versatility.
References – simply put “Available on request”. References do not come into the process until the end stages, after interview rounds. Most organisations will have specific requirements on who they need as your referees in any case.
Document format – We suggest using a clean format with no graphics, photos, images or tables. Maximise the space on the page. Use narrow margins and avoid using header and footers. Save it and send it out as a PDF file only. This will ensure your document appears as you intend it, and will be compatible with a wide variety of software.
Final checks – Proof-read your resume and take the time to get it right, edit, then edit again. Use spell check and make sure it is well written with no grammatical errors. Remember, it is the first impression your potential employer will have of you, so take the time to get it right. If possible, ask someone you trust to proof read your resume.
Follow up – Once you have submitted your CV, pick up the phone after a few days. The best way to make sure your CV is seen is by following up with a phone call. Not enough people do this. You will stand out.