Sitting down to write your CV can be a daunting task. To give you some useful tips and in honour of National Cupcake Week, we have likened CV writing to making a cake, Why? Because let’s face it, everyone loves cake.
Step 1 – The main ingredients - a good helping of skills and experience
Your CV is the one place you can afford to brag! Ensure all of your employment history, education and qualifications are added to the mix. Don't leave any gaps, even if you were out of work, add in a line about how you spent your time, for example 'actively seeking employment.'
Make sure you bring your skills to the forefront, a ‘Key skills’ bullet point list is a great way to showcase your skills.
Just like adjusting ingredients to taste, you should adjust your CV to suit the role you are applying for. Some of your experience will be more relevant, so showcase those experiences and give short and sweet accounts of those that are less relevant.
You should also adjust your CV to suit the audience. Almost everyone has one CV that they use to send out to for any position. You need to look at your CV as a and then tweak it according to the role you are applying for. Use the job spec and craft your CV to include as many of the same phrases and buzz words as possible.
Step 2 – Ice and decorate - presentation
You could bake the most delicious cake, but if it doesn't LOOK delicious, no one will ever give it a try. With CV's it is a little less superficial than that, but they way your CV is presented is hugely important. It is often the first impression someone will have of you, so you want it to appear professional and well thought out. Beyond that, you want to make it as easy for the recruiter or employer to read as possible.
Keeping your CV to a digestible length can be difficult, especially if you have a long employment history. In the case of sending your CV to a recruitment agency, your CV just needs to be strong enough to entice the recruiter into having a conversation with you, they will get to know you on the call so you don’t need your life story on paper. Keep it factual and punchy so it is easy for the recruiter to see what skills you have and why you are perfect for the role.
Step 3 – A sprinkle of personality
The most unique quality you have is your personality. Someone could be exactly the same as you on paper, skills and experience wise, but there is only one of you. Your CV should start with a small paragraph introducing you as a person. Keep this professional but be sure to inject your personal qualities, goals and ambitions.
You may also choose to end your CV with ‘Interests’ or ‘Additional Information’. Our advice here would be, only add this section if the information is relevant to the job role or is particularly interesting or unique. The old classics such as 'spending time with friends' and 'eating out' are seen on so many CVs that they do anything but help you stand out.
Step 4 – The cherry on top
"References available on request" is great but it's a real bonus when a CV features referee names and contact details. A good recruiter or prospective employer will always contact you before contacting your referees so include their contact details if you can. If you want to go one step further, when you leave a job, be sure to leave with a short reference quote from your previous employer, you can then add this to your CV to give it instant clout!