When you think about the most important part of applying for a job, you probably think about a curriculum vitae. Your CV is the main reason someone picks up the phone and calls to know more about you.
Yet candidates tend to spend very little amount of time writing their resume or CV.
To create a good CV from scratch you need to set aside a few hours. This will contain not only writing itself, but also time to think, rewrite it if you need, check for mistakes and make it look professional.
Common sense tells you that your CV needs to stand out so that a recruiter can remember it. Recruiters spend around 3 minutes on average looking at a candidate’s CV. And believe me, the most memorable ones are the worst ones.
If you are not applying to write a children’s book, please do not write your CV as a poem about yourself. The same applies, if you are not a graphic designer, my advice is not to include your drawings.
Recruiters also remember the biggest lies; and lies are very common in CVs. 5% of candidates lie in their CV when writing about responsibilities in their previous positon, and 10% extend time they were employed in their previous position. Very often there are also lies regarding knowledge and skills – like how good are you at Excel skills or how well someone knows a foreign language.
A great CV does not need many colors or an extraordinary look – it needs to be professional.
How to make sure your CV is the best it can be and easiest for recruiters to notice?
First, make sure that it is easy to read. Do not use bright font on colored background. You’ll want to avoid very decorative font, as it is harder to read. There is nothing wrong with simple, black font. And make sure that the formatting is consistent through the whole document. Lastly, don’t use too many capital letters– use them only at the beginning of the sentence and proper nouns.
What to include in a CV?
Your CV should not be very long. Think about the position you are applying for and include information that is important from a recruiter role in this particular case. If you want to be a sales director there is no need to include your summer job from high school. Remember to include essential skills and competencies you are using in your job. Write about all the significant projects you’ve participated in.
If you have skills that are required in the job you are applying for, this is something you want to mark and make visible. Write in bold for example. Recruiters often have only enough time to take a quick look at your CV – make sure they will see the most important things in it.
Then you’ll want to double check for any grammar or spelling mistakes. This can be hard, so send it to a friend to review. Your friend can also help you make sure that you wrote everything clearly and understandable.
What to avoid in your CV?
Do not use clichés. Everyone states they are an enthusiastic, hard working team player. Instead, write in your own words what you can add to a new company.
Less is more – do not write about your family, love life, beliefs or any other thing that is unnecessary and will make your CV look unprofessional and too casual.
If you feel that your CV is too plain, look at samples on the internet. One of the most popular CV databases among recruiters allows you to write a CV only in black and white, with one type of font, using bullets and bold to highlight important parts. If my advice is not convincing, remember that recruiters love easy to read CVs and that is why they use that database.