Having a strong and compelling CV is pivotal, today, to your success in landing that desirable dream job. Supporting this with a strong, proactive Linkedin profile is also essential.
In most situations, your CV is the first thing a recruiter or a hiring manager will see from you. It is very much your initial calling card or shop window. It reflects who you are and how you regard yourself.
Today in most cases a CV takes less than 30 seconds to be read – and in our experience sometimes under 10 seconds – because recruiters have limited time and are looking to be excited quickly by what they read. They are also wanting to see very specific things… that you need to have shown clearly on page one.
To help you start your job search with the right focus and impact to land your dream job, here are our 5 top tips:
- Have a strong statement
After your name and contact details, the first thing to be seen in your CV should be a strong and compelling personal profile.
Your opening paragraph needs bite and impact. It must tell the reader quickly who you are and what your key expertise is and should be written in a way that is hard hitting and captures immediate attention.
In some situations at the end of the Profile you may want to say that you are seeking a ……………….. job with a forward looking organisation offering strong prospects for career advancement.
Here’s a good example:
“A highly organised Account Manager and proactive communicator with 5 years of experience in the events industry. Key expertise in relationship building, cross selling core products and services and delivering high quality, bespoke, customer service. Looking to build upon breadth of marketing and sales skills and join a forward looking organisation offering strong prospects for career advancement.”
- Tailor your CV
Your CV should be tailored as much as you can to each specific job application that you are making or to each individual organisation that you have identified when you are writing to or approaching a company direct.
So, if you have a job description, try to tailor your CV based on it.
First of all find the relevant keywords on the job description that relate to experience and tasks and, where possible, add them to your CV (if you know that you have that experience of course).
Next, spot the overall “tone of voice” and style of the job description. Is it very formal or is it more friendly and informal?
You need to tailor your CV carefully based on that “tone of voice” because in most cases it may well match and mirror the specific, and sometimes unique, culture of the organisation.
The more you can tailor your CV to a specific job position and company, the greater will be your chances to be invited to a job interview.
- Write your top achievements
Many people only show on their CV’s their work experience and what their daily tasks are – in other words they focus purely on responsibility.
We have seen that increasingly people forget to include something even more important: their key achievements in past (and especially current) jobs. These are essential.
Your achievements need to start with action verbs (initiated, enhanced, increased) and ideally answer the “so what?” test to demonstrate how they have impacted directly on the business.
Quantify achievements where you can with numbers which if possible show the clear “value add” that you have brought to the business or even better the bottom line.
In summary, you must give clear and strong examples of achievements from your career to date that are linked as closely as possible to the required skills for each of the main “essential” areas of the job / person specification (and ideally for the “desireable” ones as well) when you are applying for a job.
- Additional skills you offer
There are many kinds of skills that we have developed or are gaining outside our work that can help us in our next job.
Even if you don’t have the opportunity to use them fully in your current role, maybe they’re exactly the skills that are now needed in the dream job you’re applying for.
In this section of your CV, and where you can, consider including any other relevant skills that you believe will or may help you in the role you’re applying for.
This might include:
- Foreign languages
- Technology skills
- Numerical skills
- Vocational training
- Management training
- Education and Training
You should include here any relevant education or training you have achieved. Also any other development activity that you believe is relevant to your future job application.
The detail you go into with each point will depend largely on how relevant it is to the position in question.
For example, if you have just graduated from university, include a detailed description of your degree and the skills you gained from it, whilst still keeping it relevant to the job you’re applying for.
However, if you’re an experienced professional with many years expertise in your sector, too much detail about your degree(s) is not so relevant or critical as your “track record” to date and specific work achievements and current skills, so keep it short and remember to include any other technical and / or other specific courses or development activity that you have achieved at all times making it relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Over to You
If you need help with writing a successful CV or your Linkedin profile (more about this in our next post), contact us now on 0845 45 900 35 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation, one hour career consultation with a Gateway consultant.