Whether you call it a CV or a Resume, this is one of the most important tools in your job search.
Your CV is your first point of contact with a prospective employer.
It should be a well written document marketing your skills and experience, to give the employer an accurate view of yourself and help you stand out from the crowd.
- * Its purpose is to get you an interview for the job you are applying for.
- * It needs to stand out - to show what makes you more worthy of that job than all of the other prospective candidates
- * It is not simply a bland outline of your technical skills and qualifications, it is an opportunity to market your communication and organisational skills, your objectives, your achievements and what makes you interesting for the particular job at hand.
10 Tips that will make your CV successful:
- Clear and consistent: Make it easy for the employer to find the important messages. Use headings and consistent fonts and formatting to organise your information. Use bullet points that are easy to read and white space between words, lines and paragraphs to improve legibility. Remember that you’re marketing yourself, so try to make it easy for the employer to understand the important messages. Clear and consistent is key.
- Concise: Be descriptive and accurate, but don't be long-winded. 15 page CVs don't usually make the shortlist, although a one pager probably won't make the cut either. Aim for around 3-5 pages.
- Tailored: Don't make your CV a "One CV fits all". Take the time to read the job requirements and tailor your CV and accompanying cover letter to the particular job you are applying for. Don't list every skill you have, but give priority to your strengths that match the job requirements.
- First page summary: Initial impressions are critical. Your story should be clearly summarised on the first page (contact details, brief career summary, objective, education, major achievements), so that the employer wants to turn the page to learn more.
- Objective: You may have many different career objectives, but be specific and again, tailor your objective for the role you are applying for, eg. “To work for a well-recognised IT firm, as a hands-on software developer with responsibility for team leading”.
- Keywords: Keywords are used in database searches by employers and HR firms, so choose them wisely. Include in your CV relevant keywords that match your experience and the job you are applying for, because this is how you will be found in a search.
- Achievements: Don't just list the skills or education you have. Think about the relevant achievements you have made and how you can use these to market your abilities.
- Specific: Don't make vague claims. Quantify your experience and the achievements you have made, eg. “Complete end to end management and responsibility for the delivery of a $20M network design and implementation project” is much more effective than “Project managed a multi-million dollar project”.
- Accurate and chronological: Dates of employment and education that are conflicting or confusing may raise doubts. Start with your most recent dates first and if there are legitimate conflicting dates, provide a brief explanation.
- Check, double check: Careless typos could cost you the job. Remember to spellcheck and reread your CV, checking your grammar and spelling. Don't leave out words and use the Australian spelling of words (organise rather than organize). Remember, “their” and “there” are both spelt correctly, but placed incorrectly can unnerve an eagle-eyed interviewer and cast doubts on your attention to detail.