CV Writing Tips: How First Time Job Applicants or Employees Switching Caree Can Get the JobBy Beth Golden, UniversityHerald Reporter
When you're crafting your CV, remember that each piece of information you put in there is crucial. Each word and line can either increase your chances of being called for an interview or being set aside. Whether it's your first time to apply for a job or you're looking for a new one, be sure you build yourself up in paper that you are the right person for the job.
For students who have yet to have work experience, this is where internships and temp jobs, volunteer work and other projects would come in handy. While you may lack direct work experience on the position you are applying for, you can highlight skills and projects that will showcase the skills you've learned which you think are essentials for the job.
The same can be true for career switchers. Think of the skills from your last job or the previous jobs you've had that is applicable to the position you're applying for. You can also relate lessons you've learned while working and how it can apply to the job.
You don't need to write every detail. Just disclose enough information to capture and keep their interest. A lengthy CV is one common pitfall. Experiences from 10 years ago can be condensed and other irrelevant parts omitted. Offer brief summaries of projects and other work experience and make sure to use the space wisely.
Here are some simple pointers in crafting a strong CV that can help you get that job:
Your CV is an outline
Think of your CV as a prelude to an interview to your dream job. During the interview, the flow of questions will follow the flow of your resume. They may not go over it on a linear fashion but they will definitely take their lead on what's written.
This means you can highlight skills and experience that shows you are the right candidate for the job and that you can add value to the organization. So, in order for you to get invited to an interview, be sure to write a compelling CV.
Go for clarity
Your competencies and skills could be undermined if you have too much on the page. Write and rewrite to make sure that you have chosen the right words and sections to add on your CV.
With each detail, consider how it can help in the way your prospective employer will see you.
Remember there hiring manager has other CVs to go through, make sure yours stand out and add value by being concise and direct to the point.
Be intentionally be brief and direct. Limit each section to a few, probably 3 to 4 subsections. Eliminate unnecessary lines, words and phrases. If it doesn't say much and does not help you get the point across, it doesn't help.
Skills and competencies are great things to highlight but what will give them more weight is the results you were able to deliver. If you can quantify the impact, it would look better to employers.
So instead of saying, "Contributed to sales improvement..." Say, "Improved sales performance by generating X number of leads and closing X number of conversions." Or simply, "Increased team productivity by 30% by using project management tools."
Highlight your projects
This is great especially if you lack the work experience in the field you want to get into. Did you help in community organizations by teaching children during your free time or helped your sorority with fundraising or other nonprofit group in campus? Be sure to mention those.
It doesn't matter if it's not a job, it allows you to highlight some skills that you were able to learn or put into good use while you were working on the project.
Lead the to get to know you more
If you blog or are part of a club in school, also include it in your CV and add links or websites where they can learn more from you. If you don't have any of those, include your LinkedIn profile link or other professional networking sites.
Including your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook links is also fine so long as you don't have any posts in there that would harm your chances of getting hired.
A word on experience
If you've been working for quite sometime, be sure to just add snippets of information to your older jobs and focus on the latest ones. If you have a really long list of professional experience, you may choose not to include the oldest once and just focus on those recent ones that are likely related to the job.
The same is true if you're applying for your first job. No need to include that you sold cookies and lemonade a child. Mentioning you've worked as a cashier in the diner or a library assistant might help but be sure it is related to the job.
Mind the gap
Taking a break from work can't be avoided and there are a number of reasons for it. It can mean going back to school, travelling, getting married and having kids, learning a craft or a new skill, tending to a sick loved one or recovering from an illness.
Basically there is nothing wrong with having a gap on your CV as long as you can show what happened at the time and if you can, also share how you were able to use your time productively while you were not employed.
If the gap is only for a brief period, then there is no need to mention it.
Another word: illness and health concerns
Since we already mentioned the gap, if you've been sick and unable to work, be sure to have the right documents to prove that you now have a clean bill of health and fit to go back to work.
If there are certain conditions that you need to manage, be sure to disclose this to your prospective employers.
Also offer to give your doctor's contact details so they can verify the information.
Break the ice
Share something weird or unusual to make things light. If you have other interests like arts or photography, share it on your CV.
It doesn't have to be related to the job but it can be something the employers can remember you from. A sport or a hobby can be one.
Remember that each position is different and each employer is unique. One recruiter might see your CV the same like the others, one might see it unique and compelling for the position.
Customizing will take time but tailoring the information for one position can increase your chances of getting hired since it will deliver information that the recruiters are looking for.
Applying for a role in design requires you focus more on the creative side compared to a marketing or accounting role.
A final note...
When you get called for an interview, it means that your CV did as it is supposed to, now remember it might be the outline recruiters and hiring managers will use to structure the direction of the interview.
Be sure to review the document and be prepared to explain or answer questions about each item you've put in there. Keep in mind it is a personal document so you should be aware of the details from dates, company names, titles and description of each roles.
You CV is an evolving document. It should be regularly updated and edited whether you're looking for a new job or not. Trainings, promotions and other recent information should be reflected.
This can help in 2 ways. One, you won't have to spend too much time updating and remembering when you do need to use it. Two, it helps you gauge your personal and professional development.