Christmas and New Year is well and truly behind us, so it is time to get back down to business and look forward to the year ahead – which may mean looking for work or an apprenticeship. To give yourself the best chance of getting that dream job for 2017 you will need to get your C.V. sorted. There is so much advice for writing a C.V. that it can be hard to know where to start. But, whatever your dream career, there are a few hard-and-fast rules that will help your C.V. do its job so that you can look forward to getting on with yours. Check out these 5 quick tips for C.V. success:
- Keep It Clear
No employer or apprenticeship provider wants to have to struggle to read your C.V., so think about the layout of your C.V. carefully. If it is tough to understand and the required information hard to find because of a cluttered layout, your C.V. will most likely end up on the discard pile. Make sure to use separate sections with short paragraphs and clear headings. Use bullet points where you can and present your C.V. in small manageable portions.
- Create Your Own Sales Pitch
Often called a ‘professional profile,’ this section of your C.V. should see you list your key skills and attributes as it relates to the job you are applying for. This section should be short and concise – at most ten lines – you can always expand on things more when you get to your interview! Try to avoid clichés and keep to the point – it is a good idea to look at the job description or any other information you have so you can match your profile to what the job needs.
- List Your Achievements
It can feel a bit odd writing about how great you are and how you are the right match for a job, but unless you say it there is no way that your prospective employer will know how great you are! List your achievements and say where you have excelled in the past. The more you can relate these to the job the better as it lets the employer to see how your skills can closely match what they are looking for. You might want to try using some of the same phrases from the job description too. Again, keep things relevant and concise but don’t be afraid to highlight any ‘soft’ skills like leadership or communication skills. That said, also know what you can leave out of your achievements – they may not need to know about your primary school swimming certificates!
- No More Than 2 Pages!
We have said that you need to keep things concise as no employer needs to read a full autobiography in order to see if you are worth interviewing. Try to keep your C.V. to two sides of A4 (you may need to use some creative spacing if it gets tight). If you need to shorten your C.V. look for things that are not really relevant to the job and delete them. You only need to list those things that are relevant to the job – also make sure to check and double check your spelling and grammar. It is worth getting someone else to read it through – since there may be errors that you have missed.
- Tailor Your C.V.
You may be tempted to just print off your existing C.V. and send it off to any number of potential employers. It’s true, applying for work can feel a bit like a chore – but it is worth putting in the effort in order to give yourself the best chance of getting that job or apprenticeship. Whether you create a totally new C.V. for each job or just tweak the existing one is up to you, but it is definitely worth it. Showing a company that you have thought about them and their job specifically shows that you are keen and you care – which is a better message to send than one that says you couldn’t really be bothered!
Use these tips to make sure your C.V. is in a good shape before you send it off, but feel free to check past our ‘Advice Centre’ if you have any questions and be sure to check out our other advice for getting an apprenticeship or dreamed-for career!