You’ve found a job sent from the employment gods. You’re perfect, the company is perfect and the interview will be only a formality.
Before you apply and change your life forever, there is one vital thing to remember.
Have you fallen foul of the classic CV mistakes that hundreds of thousands of job seekers make when applying for jobs? Well, with our guidance, you’re guaranteed to avoid the dreaded “no pile” and get that interview.
Despite the obvious problems it presents, you wouldn’t believe the number of CVs that have grammatical errors and typos in them when sent to prospective employers. If your CV has spelling errors, it WILL be binned, no question.
In the eyes of the employer, if your attention to detail is poor enough to allow typos, what does that say about you as a person and a worker?
Read, reread and reread again before applying for any job. Or even better, get a second pair of eyes to take a look.
2. Personalise Your CV
Not every employer is the same, which is why it is essential to make slight amendments that suit each job you apply for.
Applying to an employer looking for someone with great IT skills? Shout loud and proud about the IT qualifications you have and how knowledgeable you are.
Another employer looking for someone with creative writing experience? Let the employer know about your time spent as a content-writing intern and the blog you own and write for.
Your skills in the CV are what will get you the interview, so promote, promote, promote and make them aware of why you are the best candidate.
3. Provide a Cover Letter
A covering letter is an essential part of the modern CV. It’s a way of taking that initial personal interaction between you and the employer to the next level.
The covering letter shows that you have really looked at the job spec, that you care about the vacancy, that you want to be seen and heard, that you WANT TO BE EMPLOYED!
Think you are perfect for the job but worried that you may not have the desired qualifications? The covering letter gives you the perfect opportunity to let the employer know about the skills you DO have and why you deserve the chance to shine.
No CV should be without one!
4. Avoid the Classics
“I am a great communicator.”
“I work brilliantly in a team and independently.”
“I am a hard-working individual.”
You may well be all of these and more, but without providing proof, how can you expect to be chosen ahead of all the other candidates?
These clichés are overused. If you work brilliantly in a team, explain why and how. Providing examples of your many talents is the only way to be taken seriously.
5. Professional-Looking Email
The CV may be perfect and have the potential to wow any employer from Steve Jobs to Steve’s Oddjobs.
However, if the CV is being received from jackluvsMUFC@hotmail.co.uk or Oasisfan1@yahoo.co.uk, your professionalism will soon be questioned.
It takes ten minutes to create a reputable looking email address (email@example.com would be fine) and immediately makes you look more professional.
6. Straight to the Point
Employers are busy people. They appreciate a clear, concise CV that immediately says who you are, what you can do and why you should be employed to do it.
What they don’t appreciate is a long-winded CV that waffles on for three to four pages. These are the kinds of CVs that usually make their way into the recycling bin.
Keep it to the point, say what you need, not necessarily what you want, and keep it to about one page. You may be up against fifty other candidates, so the old saying “less is more” has never been truer.
7. Keep It Clean
Unless it has been specified otherwise – or you are applying for a design job – your CV should be in one font, black lettering on a white background and clearly divided into categories.
Resist the temptation to use fancy writing, colours and clip art!
So that is our seven-step guide to the perfect CV. Follow our tried-and-tested steps and the only thing you will have to worry about is getting to your interview on time!
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