In a highly competitive job market, getting your application noticed is vital if you are to have any chance of success. Your first point of contact with potential employers is usually your CV; it’s what lets them know who you are and how suitable you might be.
The problem is that employers see countless CVs for every vacancy they are trying to fill so you need to know what makes a good CV and keep your CV out of the reject pile. There is no magic formula that can be applied across all CVs but there are some general rules you can follow that will improve your chances.
An attractive presentation will catch the eye. It will be easy for your potential employer to read and to identify relevant information, so saving time and effort. It shows that you care about your application and can tell a lot about your organisational skills. An untidy, confused CV is likely to meet early rejection.
A tailored CV
When you are applying for a number of jobs it is very tempting to adopt a one size fits all type of approach, but this will almost certainly see your application rejected. Every job has specific requirements and you should carefully address these in your CV. For example if you are applying for a job as a financial controller it would be prudent to emphasise the skills you have in this area.
If your CV is not properly tailored to the job, chances are that it will contain material that is irrelevant. No employer is going to be impressed if he has to waste his valuable time wading through a ton of information that he doesn’t want or need. This is a sure way to guarantee that you stay in the market for a job.
On the other side of the coin, a well-tailored CV shows that you know the job requirements and have taken the trouble to find out what is needed. It serves to show your commitment and will impress any potential employer.
It should be obvious, but accuracy is vital. CVs containing spelling or grammatical mistakes show that you are careless or, worse, disinterested. They are a certain way of seeing your application rejected. Another ridiculous mistake to make is to give incorrect or out of date contact information. How can an employer contact you if these simple details are wrong? And you also need to have a sensible email address – not the comical one that your friends use.
Accuracy is a matter of checking your CV carefully. But proofreading your own work is unreliable; you will be surprised at how many mistakes you will miss. It is best to find someone else to go through your CV to have the best chance of catching mistakes before you submit your CV.
Employers do not have the time to spend looking through CVs that are poorly presented, irrelevant or inaccurate. If you do your homework before starting on your CV you will have a good idea of what is required and stand a far greater chance of preparing the best CV for the job you are after. Small details can make all the difference, so make sure you get them right.