How To Make Your CV Really Work For You
The Sunday Times this week reported that the headmistress of the best performing school in Britain over recent years has warned the brightest school girls will in future choose to go straight into a job at the age of 18 rather than go to University.
This reflects the idea that a degree is considered by some as a ‘waste of time’ and with the significant financial implications of going to university, it is likely that many more will also be considering faster routes to the top, avoiding higher education altogether.
At the same time, whilst the Government is pushing for a shift towards apprenticeships, statistics reveal that 40% of these positions are being taken by over-25s already in employment.
So all in all the jobs market remains tough and competitive for those seeking a job at any level, whether armed with a degree or not, and it’s not likely to get any easier in the future.
But there are ways to increase your chances of success and employment, by taking the time to focus on each stage of the recruitment process, starting from getting your CV right!
Here’s some hints and tips on how to approach your CV to make sure it works in your favour, and gets you that much desired interview.
- Tailor your CV to every different job role. Once you’ve written your basic CV it only takes 10 minutes or so to tweak it.
- Ensure the skills required for the job are in your CV. If the job description calls for creativity and an ability to network, then mention those and examples. Make sure you answer the question ‘why am I the right one for this specific role?’
- Keep it brief and include only information that’s relevant. Recruiters spend approx 30 seconds looking at a CV before moving it to the yes or no pile, so ensure yours says enough to get on the right pile!
- Be pro-active. A job won’t find you. Get your CV out there to the companies you’d like to work for. If you are sending a CV on spec, send it by post, then follow it up with an email. It’s harder to physically bin a piece of paper than delete an email.
- Make sure your letter contains accurate and up-to-date contact information.
- Do your homework. Research the company and the role you are applying for and use the cover letter to explain why you want the job and why you should get it. For example, mention a new product or service the firm has introduced – impress them with your knowledge of their business.
- Make sure you get the basics right. Computers have spelling and grammar checks so there is no excuse for mistakes – yet 39% of applications have at least one typo. Proofread your CV carefully and get a friend or relative to check it.
- Don’t forget to include your personal interests. If you like to go scuba diving, then say so. What you do in your spare time can really stand out. Employees want to know about the real you as well as your achievements.
- Employers often ask for experience – so remember to include all work experience, internships and proof that you are dedicated to the career.
- If you are a school leaver, lead with your education and qualifications. For graduates, mention any experience of part-time work or volunteering. Recruiters look for high achievers both academically and professionally.
- Include a “call to action” at the end of the letter. State you would appreciate a chance to discuss the application at an interview – and suggest calling them in a week’s time.
- Show your inner confidence – if you’re not planning to go to university, show how you’re ready to take on the role and the ‘real world’ of employment.
- Take care on social media. Employers often check online profiles of potential candidates so be careful what you post if you want to come across responsibly. Alternatively make sure your Facebook account is secure to only your friends, protect your privacy and watch what you broadcast across your channels (and what pictures you upload!)
- Where appropriate, don’t be afraid to be creative – you want your CV to stand out from the crowd – we have seen clever personal ad styles CV being very well received.
Finally don’t be afraid to ask for help. Looking for a job can be a lonely venture, and that isn’t necessary when those around you are ready to check your CV, and help you on the search out the companies you want to work for – and are likely to want you too!
And if you’re successful with your CV, check out our blog on how to cope with the interview process!