Your Guide To Getting Your CV Just Right

Today’s job market can be highly competitive, and your CV is your first opportunity to showcase who you are, and what you can do, to a potential employer.

We all know that first impressions are important, so you need to make sure that your CV puts your best foot forward!

Layout and Structure

Your CV should have a clean and simple layout, and be well structured, so that information is easy to find. Consider using sub-headings such as: Employment History, Skills & Experience, Qualifications & Training, Awards & Achievements, etc., and make sure the font style and size is easy to read.

Make it Custom

When sending your CV to multiple companies, take the time to make small tweaks to it for each one. If you are applying for a specific job role, tailor what skills you focus on so that you meet the exact criteria for the job description. If you are sending your CV to a company who haven’t advertised a specific position, include a brief statement on why you think you’d be a great addition to their team.

Do Your Research

It’s highly likely that the company you are sending your CV to will have a website, and possibly also social media pages. Check out their company values and what they’ve been up to lately, and briefly make reference to them in your cover letter – a little effort can go a long way in making you stand out from the crowd.

Stick to the Point

Avoid using lots of jargon, or writing very long synopsis of your previous roles and experience. The purpose of your CV isn’t to tell potential employers every single thing about you, it’s to whet their appetite and make them want to meet with you to find out more.

Be Honest

Don’t fall into the trap of embellishing your past qualifications and experience in an attempt to get the job. If you lie on your CV, there’s a very good chance you’ll be found out, which is not only embarrassing but also a sack-able offence. That’s not to say you can’t be proud of your achievements – we’re not very good at blowing our own trumpet in Northern Ireland, but your CV is a chance to showcase exactly what you’re made of – so don’t be afraid to use that opportunity to shine!

No Gaps

Gaps in employment history can be really off-putting for many employers, so if you have an obvious gap on your CV, make sure to include a brief reason why, along with details of anything else you may have been doing at the time – did you go travelling for a year? Volunteer with a local charity? Were you doing a full-time course? You don’t need to go into lots of detail, but you do need to provide the basics.

Keep It Fresh

It’s important to update your CV on a regular basis, whether you’re looking for a job or not. When something significant happens in your career, if you develop a new skill, or you manage a project that achieves excellent results, make sure to record it.

Attempting to update your CV every 5 years or so will only result in you being incredibly frustrated, and likely forgetting lots of the great things you’ve done.

Hit ‘Em With the Facts

Back up your achievements with facts and figures. Which sounds more impressive?

  • “In my last job I helped increase sales of our key products in the UK.”

  • “In my last role as Sales Associate, I helped increase sales of our key products in the UK by 70% in 3 months.”

Impressive figures are always good, but don’t make them up! Any facts and figures are a strong start, as they can help quantify what you are saying. Anyone can claim to be a great sales person, but the one who can back it up will get the job.

 Check It, Then Check It Again

Mistakes in a CV are glaringly obvious, and can leave a negative first impression, especially if the role you are applying for depends on strong attention to detail or excellent written communication skills. Make sure there are no spelling, punctuation, or grammar mistakes, ensure your employment dates don’t conflict, and double check that you have provided the correct email and address and phone number.

By Rachael Doherty