Your CV is a personal marketing piece of writing to promote yourself to an employer so that they want to meet you for an interview. It is the first step in the process of securing a job role in today’s competitive market. A CV should showcase your personality and the achievements that make you stand out from the crowd.
Imagine you are a recruiter who has 100s of applications for one job, the chances are you won’t have hours on end to spend sifting through prospective employee's resumes. So, what would you do? You would look for the most visually appealing CVs in order to streamline the process, this is why it is important to spend time ensuring that it looks good. Do not overload your CV with irrelevant information, keep it clear and concise.
Why not put your English studies to good use by creating a successful CV that allows you to either work or study abroad? Calving out time from your busy work or school schedules to priorities your future self and your career takes commitment and motivation. However, this process is made so much easier by our 4-step guide on how to create the perfect CV.
Keep reading for more useful tips and tricks that will not just encourage you but will also give you the inspiration needed to get started.
1. Showcase your abilities
Discovering how to bring your skills to the forefront of your CV and understanding the difference between job-related, technical, and adaptive skills will boost your chances of securing an interview. For instance, job-related skills are specific to the role that you are applying for – you will typically find these in the job description, and these include problem-solving, flexibility, leadership, communication skills. Whereas adaptive skills are everyday skills needed to be an independent adult (e.g. social skills, managing money, and daily living skills), technical skills are specific to your job or sector (include using certain tools, programs, and processes) such as welding and project management.
Ensure that you really highlight those important skill-based areas in your CV and don’t be afraid to show off your achievements – maybe you won ‘Highest Performing Student for your Year group’ or maybe you hiked to the top of a mountain? It doesn’t matter how much these differ, both show resilience and determination skills. Additionally, if you enjoy taking photos of wildlife in your spare time, chances are you are a great photographer! Build upon your creativity skills by teaching yourself how to edit your photos on Photoshop, Illustrator or Canvas – this shows great initiative to recruiters.
2. Tailor it for every position
Research from R. Eric Landrum, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Boise State University demonstrates the importance of tweaking your CV to fit the job role that you are applying for, although this can undoubtedly take a long time to do, it will be worth it in the long run. It is much more worthwhile for you to craft your CV to 5 jobs rather than 20 jobs – make your CV stand out, draw upon your enriching experiences, and your strengths such as being multi-lingual. Additional research from Chron reiterates the importance of multilingualism in the workplace, allowing employees to have more flexibility to move around in different positions within the company and the opportunity to expand their vocabulary and interpersonal skills.
Look at the job description that you are interested in applying for, pick out some keywords that you can include in your CV -use the most eye-catching words. Similarly, if you are highly skilled in a particular area then make sure this is not hidden at the bottom of your CV, for example, you might have work experience at a law firm and you are applying for a paralegal assistant role, you would include this experience at the top of your CV.
Pay attention to the skills that they mention multiple times in the job advert, ensure that you have good examples of these for your resume. To illustrate, if the employer is looking for ‘excellent customer service skills you may include your 2 years of barista experience, stating what you were responsible for in your job role and how you delivered great customer service skills. You will be able to include this in your CV if you have this experience!
3. Make it look good
Ensure that you are using the same font size throughout and make sure that it is easy to read for recruiters and employers – these small things may seem irrelevant to you, but they can be the deciding factor between whether you are invited for an interview or not. Bullet point your key qualifications and skills, instead of writing them in huge blocks of text will make your CV noticeable to employers. Formatting, okay well one of the most popular methods is using a reverse-chronological structure which focuses on your most recent job and moves backward through time, listing all of your past jobs in order. This works best for people with lots of previous work experience, however, for those of you who have gaps in your employment history you could use a skills-based CV, this is typically good for students who have little to no experience. This method concentrates on your job-related skills.
4. Edit and revise
Leave yourself enough time to check over your resume and make amendments, the key here is to check for mistakes and to keep proof-reading your CV until it is free from errors – the last thing you want, is to have spent so long drafting your CV to send to a company that you are really interested in and they will not give you an interview because they have spotted many grammatical mistakes.
We suggest asking someone you trust, maybe a family member or friend (who also speaks English) to read over your resume once it is completed and they will be able to see if any changes need to be made to it.
Another tip: Ask yourself if the sentence structure is correct: are there any sentences that could be said in fewer words? Have you used the same words over and over again?
Paraphrasing tools such as Quillbot will help you to choose a synonym if your memory goes blank. Remember to keep making changes to your CV over time and to update any outdated experiences or skills that are no longer relevant to you.
On the last note, remember that good things take time, we all have to start, somewhere don’t we? Even CEOs at the pinnacle of their careers had to spend a lot of time formulating their CVs. So, what are you waiting for? Get some paper and a pen and start making a resume draft right now.