The great thing about starting a new year is the feeling of making a fresh start. We’ve put together some tips and a template to get your CV perfected before applying for that dream job or Apprenticeship position.
Tailor your CV
The last thing you want to do is send a generic CV to all employers. Although it may seem like an efficient and time-saving method, this approach is lazy and it will get you nowhere. So our first tip is to avoid sending out the same CV to lots of employers and tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for instead. Consider what skills the employer might be looking for and highlight the most relevant skills to that particular role. Read the job description thouroughly and use it to tailor your skills to what they’re looking for.
If you’ve got experience in a retail and hairdressing, and you’re applying for a job in a shop, put more emphasis on your retail experience instead of your hairdressing experience.
It’s an obvious one but mistakes on a CV can make it seem like you haven’t taken enough time or don’t have attention to detail. An error-free CV will ensure you come across as professional and have taken time and care with your application.
Ensure you double-check your CV for spelling and grammar errors. Spell checkers can often miss mistakes so it’s a good idea to have your CV checked by someone else like a family member or friend.
Sell yourself via facts
Keep in mind that your CV should be a factual document. Anyone can list the skills and experience they have in a certain area or role, but without facts to back it up these statements don’t mean anything. Employers are looking for factual information to prove that you can do the job so add facts and figures, numbers, percentages, money, statistics etc. wherever you can.
Replace ‘I have great customer service skills’ with ‘‘I helped increased our customer satisfaction rating by 20% by providing outstanding customer service.’ Always remember to explain how you have contributed to the company through your role, not just listing your responsibilities.
Use active and positive language
As well as being a factual document, your CV should be full of active and positive words to emphasise your skills, experience and abilities.
Active words are verbs i.e. a doing word or a word that describes an action such as achieved, built, completed, discovered, implemented, motivated, produced, solved and won.
Positive words are words that are optimistic and good such as absolutely, advantage, brilliant, excellent, helpful, outstanding, performing and transform.
By taking this approach your CV will sound more dynamic and will make you come across as a ‘doer’ instead as someone who was just involved.
Replace ‘Good IT skills’ with ‘Demonstrate excellent IT skills and can competently use Microsoft Word packages and have 2 years’ experience in operating complex sales databases’
As well as the words you use and write, you also need to consider what your CV looks like. Your CV needs to be easy to read so avoid long paragraphs. Bullet pointed lists and short sentences make it much easier for the employer to scan for key information. We have created an editable CV template, you can download and fill in. Make sure to use the tips on this page to help you out!
Click here to download the template.
Choose an appropriate length
Your CV should be no longer than 2 pages. If you’re starting out in your career, 1 page is fine.
Name it appropriately
When you save the file, name it with your name, CV, and the job title you’re applying for. E.g. Joe Bloggs CV – Office Administrator.
Keep it up-to-date
Your CV is a document that will evolve with you. As you gain experience and new skills, achieve qualifications, change phone number or address, it needs to be updated and added to.
Download our CV template here and start creating professional applications today!