Your CV is normally the first thing a potential new employer sees. It’s an introduction to who you are, what qualifications and work experience you have and why someone should employ you.
It is essentially a sales document and is generally in competition with a whole bunch of other CVs. The big question is how you stand out from the crowd and avoid the rejection pile, getting from this brief introduction to the interview phase.
Whenever you are applying for a job, it’s important to read the specification attached to it. This details the qualities and qualifications the company is looking for.
You should always, always take the time to adjust your CV so that it fits this outline. Doing so will not only improve your chances of being selected for interview but will also help keep your CV fresh and current.
While no one CV is the same as another, and formatting can vary a bit here and there, you should include some standard information.
You need to understand what the exact purpose of your CV is. It’s not going to land you the job, it’s your opening salvo to get to the interview stage. It helps to take into account where your CV is going to be read. Is it a hard copy or are you (as is more common nowadays) sending it electronically? Ensure you format in a clean and easy to read way and avoid any quirky designs that might put your reader off.
Words, as we all know, are important. Avoid clichés in your CV content. This includes phrases like ‘good at working in a team’ or saying that you are ‘goal driven’. Almost everyone tends to throw these common phrases onto the page so they are not going to help you stand out. You should, however, include dynamic action words in your copy where possible and back these up with examples in your work or performance.
For example, if you say you are pro-active, you should be able to point to one or two times where you anticipated something at work and put in processes to deal with it. Similarly, if you are a confident public speaker, you can include examples of an occasion when you gave a speech or sales pitch.
One issue that often crops up when it comes to writing a CV is the length. A lot will depend on the sector you are in and what is generally expected. The CV for an academic or researcher will almost certainly be longer than one for a digital marketer.
Ideally, you should remember the maxim of ‘less is more’ and keep you CV as succinct as possible while still getting your main points across. In most cases, a couple of sides of A4 should be enough.
Never send out a CV until you’ve had it proof read and edited. It’s best to get this done with the help of someone you trust. If you’re doing it yourself, then leave at least a few days before you go back to review what you’ve written.
Finally, selling yourself to a potential employer requires you to deliver what they are looking for. Check the job specs first and highlight the key things the employer ideally wants. Match these up with your current experience and the digital marketing skills you have. This needs to be front and centre of your application and will, hopefully, be the first thing that anyone on the selection panel sees.
Get it right and you’ll find yourself being invited to more interviews. It’s then that the real work begins!