What is a good Curriculum Vitae?

Your CV is the single most important weapon in your armour when you are hunting for a new job. Getting it right is crucial and in today's market, your resume is an even more instrumental marketing tool than before. With some areas of the UK now seeing over 30 applications for every available vacancy, the competition is becoming increasingly fierce making it is now more important than ever to make sure your CV show cases your skills, abilities and achievements to their full potential.

Prospective employers often make snap decisions whether to interview or reject an applicant instantly having read the details - even the most qualified people can find themselves rejected if their CV does not do their skills and abilities justice. Even worse, many CVs do not actually get read but are discarded on first glance due to poor layout, excessive text or obvious unacceptable errors.

How can you give your CV the edge?

Although there is not actually a right or wrong way to write your CV, there are many ways that can increase, or conversely decrease, your chances of securing that all important interview request. It is predicted by industry professionals, that you have less than ten seconds to grab the attention of the reader, so you need to make a strong visual impact instantly in terms of layout, text and readability.

In the light of the current job market, it is essential that your CV should look, sound this it is vital to choose the words you and read positively, and in order to achieve use in your CV very carefully. By using words which enhance your CV, you can emphasise the positive aspects of your education and work history, which will prove valuable when you come to market yourself. For example, words such as completed, organised, and initiated all have a strong impact on the reader and make the potential recruiter immediately start thinking 'what you can achieve for them'. Try to avoid negative words like unsuccessful or tried, and avoid repetition, as these all create the wrong first impression.

There are no set rules or guidelines which determine what the length of your CV should be - this will be dependent on your individual circumstances, for example your career history, education and achievements, and will obviously become more extensive the further into your career you are. Trying to achieve a balance between giving all the necessary information on your background, while keeping to the point, should be your main aim when selecting what to include and what to omit. Ensure that the highlights of your career are exactly that - highlights and not lost in a mass of irrelevant text.

Making your CV too 'waffly' or complex is as detrimental to your interview chances as leaving out key information. Too much detail and industry specific jargon will often be lost on its reader or will make the reader switch off altogether. However, by bearing in mind the role or industry that you are applying to, and keeping any key criteria set out in a job specification at the front of you thought process, you can ensure your CV remains focused, concise and relevant.

The reader is not going to be interested in every duty and responsibility you have undertake during your working career, or every module, course and seminar you have attended, unless they are relevant to the role they are recruiting for.

Points that sound very obvious, such as running a check on the spelling and grammar before submitting your details may sound like stating the obvious but are extremely important and are still surprisingly, not carried out in many cases. Submitting a CV to an employer with such errors, will immediately ensure your CV is filed in the bin. In addition to this, making sure you tell the truth is vital. It is all too easy to over emphasise an achievement or the extent of your experience, but the chances are you will get caught out and recruiters can generally tell at a glance if you are exaggerating the truth!

There are many companies now which offer professional CV writing services at a range of different levels. Some will be able to simply redesign the layout of your current CV, while others will offer an in depth consultation before completing any work, to ensure they glean all the key information needed for your CV in the short and long term. This can be a useful method of CV writing, which can give you many crucial and otherwise unknown CV writing tips that make all the difference in the world of recruitment.


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