We all know how important it is to have the perfect CV, it is, after all, a potential employer’s first introduction to you but how do you go about writing it? What information should you include and what should you leave out? We at AllWestSussexJobs want to help you maximise your chances of getting that perfect job so here are tips for making the right first impression.
We know it’s obvious but a Curriculum Vitae (CV) should always be typed to give it the greatest clarity possible. It should also be well presented. Think about how it looks on the page. There should be clear headings and breaks between information. A potential employer will probably look through dozens of CVs for a job so they should be able to see the relevant information at a glance before short listing it for a thorough read through. A badly laid out CV which is difficult to read will probably end up in the bin.
Most employers like a CV to start with a personal statement as it allows them to see straightaway what you are about. What should this include?
Make sure you give these questions serious thought before you answer them as they are likely to be questioned at interview. Here’s an example of what you might say:
"I am bright and hardworking and passionate about any challenges I take on. My employment to date has all been very customer focused and I find this to be very enjoyable. I have spent the last few years in a sales environment and I enjoy the contact with different types of people this brings. I feel am intelligent and would like the opportunity to exploit this further. During my time at Joe Bloggs’ Estate Agents I very much enjoyed learning as much as possible about the technical and legal aspects of the conveyancing process and feel that I took to it quickly. I am keen to take on a challenging role with opportunities to progress and train where possible. I am also very IT literate and thoroughly enjoy using computers as part of my working life."
The next heading should be your education if it is especially relevant to the job for which you are applying. For example, if you have a degree in Marketing and you are applying for a marketing position then it is useful to state this first. However, if you feel your education is not particularly relevant and you are applying on the strength of experience then it is worth considering putting your work history first.
Your education should be listed in reverse order with the most recent education undertaken at the top. There is no need to go into great detail here, simply state where you studied and what grades you achieved. It is not necessary to put the dates of study if you do not wish as, under the Age Discrimination laws, you are not obliged to make any reference to your age and this includes dates from which your age may be discerned. Do not forget to include information of any certificates you have received which may be relevant to the position.
Like education, it is important that this is laid out in reverse order, the most recent or current employment at the top. You should state the name of the employer and the period of time you worked for them (this need not be dates but you should indicate for how long you were employed). It is also useful to indicate where the employer was based, e.g. Chichester. You should also clearly state what your job title was. Underneath explain briefly what your job role was and your main tasks. This should help a potential employer discern whether your experience makes you suitable for their role. Try to be succinct and keep it to only relevant information.
It is not advisable to put your salary for each position on your CV as this can cause an employer to make assumptions about your suitability for a role and make negotiating your salary, where applicable, more difficult. The same can also be said for putting your salary expectation on your CV.
It is common for people to put a small amount of personal information, such as hobbies, on their CV. It is advisable to keep this to a minimum. You should, however, state whether you have a driving licence and transport.
There has also been a noticeable shift away from employers liking to see photos on a CV. For most positions it is unnecessary to include a photo but if you wish to it should be passport photo sized and professional.
It is vital that you ensure all spelling and punctuation are correct. Literacy is often highly important to employers so use the Spell Check function on your computer.
Ask someone to read through your CV. Ask them to check it looks presentable and easy to read. They should also check your spelling and grammar.
When applying for a position try to include a covering letter. This should say why you are applying for this job in particular and a little bit about the experience and/or skills you have which would be of value to them (avoid repeating too much from the CV itself).
Don’t forget that it may not be "one CV fits all", it’s worth spending a few minutes checking your CV before each occasion you submit it to check it makes the greatest impact for each particular role. You may want to consider changing some information, particularly your personal statement, to suit the job description.
AllWestSussexJobs wishes you the very best of luck with your job hunting in West Sussex