When it comes to applying for the job you want, having your CV looking and reading sharp can often mean the difference between securing an interview and missing out – but how do you do this, you ask?
Putting together a successful CV is actually a hell of a lot easier than you think, but it’s something that even the most intelligent people with shiny-looking careers can often get horribly wrong. I know this comes across as incredibly clichéd, but it’s all about the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Yes, you heard right. The key to creating a knock-out CV is keeping things clear, concise and not over-complicating it with too many words, pages and clunky-looking fonts.
Here are our top tips on how to write a CV and nab your dream job!
Lay The Foundation & Get The Basics Right
In light of stripping this process down. Let’s talk fonts, résumé templates and mapping out how you want your CV to look. I highly recommend www.visualcv.com for basic, yet impactful templates that integrate with Google Drive and offer an array of options. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to choose a font that is easy on the eye and effortless to read. There’s a whole heap of fonts that look and read nicely (it’s up to you, really), but a personal favourite is Calibri in size 11. It’s a basic Microsoft font that just seems to work.
Create A Punchy Snapshot of Your Career
This is a critical piece that summarises who you are, what you’ve done and what you’re all about professionally. It’s a prime opportunity for you to really sell yourself and toot your horn in a humble way that summarises your experience, but highlights to the recruiter or line manager that they should not hesitate in reading on.
Tackle this important piece of the CV puzzle with a three-pronged approach and break it down into past, present and future. Doing this will stop you rambling and using up the precious real estate on the first page of your CV. Remember, this is not a personal summary of your interests and it’s not a cover letter either, so you need to make sure it reflects you as a professional in your space. Try to keep it within about 150 words, or four lines. Keep it concise, punchy and to the point.
Flesh Out A list of Your Core Skills
Your core skills need to be listed just below your personal summary, and should round up the very best skills in your repertoire. This section needs to include soft and technical skills, and be compartmentalised to keep its flow and rhythm.
I would also have the list comprise your “tech stack”. Employers and recruiters are keen to know what your “stack” is, even if you’re not in a super-technical role. As an example, if you are a digital marketer, list out the platforms you’ve used, such as Marketo, HubSpot, Google AdWords, Screaming Frog, and Infusionsoft etc.
Write Up The Essential Functions of Each Role
When listing the responsibilities you’ve had in previous roles, you’ll want to make sure you rein yourself in. Include eight to 10 points only, and try to keep them highly relevant. I recommend opening a Google or Word doc and fleshing out a comprehensive list that you can refine as you go along. If you get stuck on points for your responsibility list, then refer to your previous position descriptions. AND, if that fails and you need some more inspiration, I would head straight over to seek.com.au and find similar roles that are being advertised. Extract some of the requirements listed in their “skills required” section, and add them to your CV.
List Your Achievements
You may think you don’t have too many achievements to put on your CV, but I can pretty much guarantee you would. If you’re a marketer, you would no doubt remember the impact some of your campaigns have had from a metric perspective. As an example, an achievement might read: “heightened engagement by x% over a three-month period on x platform, which resulted in an x% increase in revenue for the business.” It’s recommended that you have roughly three achievements per role, as it is an excellent way of providing the context for the responsibility section of your CV.
Always remember that a well-put-together CV is just the very first step. You’ll need to equip yourself with the mindset to approach the interview with confidence, finesse and flair. These are the magical ingredients for a winning job search that will hopefully get you the job you want!
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