I must look at over 30 CV’s every day and it surprises me how many I delete before even finishing the personal statement. A CV is a ‘first impression’ and we all know how important they are. Most recruiters get over 50 CV’s for every job they post online so how can you ensure you are not just wasting time.
Firstly lets start with the layout. I would say this is the most important aspect to your CV. A clean and easy to follow approach is vital to catching the readers attention. There are hundreds of template layouts to choose from on Microsoft Office.
A good CV should start with a personal statement, keep it relevant to the role you are applying for. Most job seekers should have at least 2 versions of their CV to approach different markets. Next is the work experience, you need to detail what you contributed to the role and the specifics of what was involved. Again, focus on the job you are applying for and bring out how your previous experience is relevant to that role.
Next up is your skills. Lists your skills in order of experience, I see many candidates listing there most valuable skill last. Remember a human will be reading your CV and will think the lower on the the list the less comfortable you are.
With regards to hobbies, watching football isn’t really a hobby. If its not a little different and exciting your better off not putting it down.
One of my pet peeves with a poor CV is the spelling and grammar. I have sent CV’s back to candidates and asked them to correct spelling before I will forward their CV to an employer. If your spelling isn’t up to scratch get a friend or family member to read it over. Poor spelling is extremely off-putting and shows a lack of focus. All computers will allow you to spell check a document so there really isn’t any excuse.
Short and sweet, everyone values their time and forcing a possible employer to read through 10 pages of nonsense isn’t going to work for you. I recommend a maximum of two pages at font size 12. This should be plenty space to outline why your right for the role. There is no need to list every job you have ever had, if it means going over two pages. Simply saying information from prior roles available on request. Some of the best CV’s I have seen have fit onto one page.
Finally file formats. I have had numerous CV’s sent in formats my computer can’t open. I don’t even bother asking for an alternative. The only file format you should use is .pdf and .docx. Most other software will allow you to export into .pdf format which most employers will then be able to open. Using Open Office and Notepad to write your CV makes it difficult for employers. Keep it simple.