With everyone working remotely, the written parts of your job application are essential for getting your application over the line. Here’s some tips on making your CV/resume shine.
With the world becoming more digital and less personalised, a strong CV is more important than ever for landing you that next role.
Many places are back in lockdown, we’re relying less and less on face-to-face interactions and more on communications via email. We tell candidates every day that their CV and cover letter needs to be as strong as it can be. People are consuming more written content since the pandemic – so it follows that they’re reading that CV/resume of yours.
Your resume/CV is a chance to show yourself in the best light, so it’s worthwhile investing time into making it stand out. This means being aware of what to put in – and what not to put in. Here’s a guide we’ve put together to help.
1. Start with your name and contact details
This might sound obvious, but it’s a really important step that candidates sometimes forget. Include at least two methods of contacting you – both email and phone.
Not only does it give employers the means to get in touch, but it shows you in a professional light and demonstrates attention to detail.
2. Move to career summary
Under the contact details should be a career summary including your key career accomplishments so far. This should show the prospective employer you can provide what they need – not just outline your experience. Do not be shy about highlighting your achievements as you want them to help you stand out from the competition. Also, make sure to tweak this opening paragraph to suit every role you apply for.
Beneath the career highlights, include bullet points with your key skills gained from your experience. Again, make sure they’re tailored to the role you’re applying for.
Extra tip: include all the information, but also keep it concise. You don’t want your CV/resume to waffle on and get too long.
3. Describe your experience and achievements
Next, it’s time to go into your experience. This includes relevant paid work, volunteer work and work experience.
Remember, this is not just a laundry list of places you’ve worked. Not a boring list of duties. This is about presenting relevant experience you’ve had that will help you get the next role. Do not include every job you have ever had - anything not relevant or more than 10 years old can be summarised with a basic job title and overview.
Give weighty details around the responsibilities you had and – most importantly – your key achievements. Show them how you overcame challenges and worked both as an individual and member of a team.
Extra tip: Don’t try to fudge over gaps in your employment. Instead, explain them clearly and confidently, for example ‘career break for travelling’ or ‘freelance contractor’.
4. List education, hobbies, and interests
Keep your educational credentials relevant to the role you’re applying for and start with the most recent first. Remember to also include industry-specific training, as employers like to see candidates making the effort to upskill regularly.
You also have the option of including hobbies and interests, if you think they highlight your personality or suitability for the role.
Extra tip: Be careful listing any hobbies or interests that may be seen as controversial or could potentially offend/turn off an employer.
5. Say references are available
If you don’t feel comfortable writing referees on your CV/resume, then that’s fine. Just make sure you can provide them when necessary.
Extra tip: Contact your references in advance. It’s courteous and will also make sure they’re ready for a call.
6. Review and review again
Never submit a CV/resume unless you’re sure there’s no mistakes. If you cannot demonstrate to a potential employer that you can present a CV without errors, then it might cast doubt on your ability to produce high quality work for them.
Use spell check and always try to leave it and come back some time later so you can read it with ‘fresh eyes’. If possible, try to have a family member or friend read over it for you.
Also, make sure your formatting is clear and consistent. You don’t need a design degree or anything fancy, but ensuring it’s all the same font and size, with good spacing and bold headings will improve readability and make you look more professional.
Extra tip: Avoid jargon, acronyms or industry-specific language (particularly if you’re moving industries).
So there you have it – some tips for making your CV/resume strong, attention-catching and fit-for-purpose in this virtual environment. Follow these steps and you’ll set yourself on a strong path to getting that virtual interview.
26 Aug 2021