Job seekers take note – your CV is your licence to fly. An average of 50 CVs are submitted for every advertised job which means there’s no margin for error, says Niteske Marshall, MD of Network Recruitment. “Many candidates are ruled out from the start because of poorly presented resumes even though they may have compelling work experience and the appropriate skills. If you don’t have the right ticket – you can’t fly.”
So what are the criteria for a savvy CV? Keep it brief, relevant, free of errors and avoid gimmicks and no matter how badly you want the job – stick to the facts, she says. Presentation is paramount and the look should be clean, crisp, clear and professional.
Whilst presentation unlocks the door, the content will open it. The key strategies for content are brevity and relevance – and information should be packaged in a way that highlights suitability for the position you’re applying for.
Always include a breakdown of past work experience, academic and professional qualifications, your skills range and extracurricular interests and activities – but don’t waste anyone’s time by telling them what they already know. Unless your duties deviated significantly from the conventional job description (eg office manager, receptionist, financial controller etc), skip the lengthy descriptions. Keep it factual and keep it short.
List your employment history and expand on work experience that is relevant to a particular job. Be honest about your reasons for leaving previous jobs and be upfront about any gaps in your career (travel, periods of unemployment etc).
You should include your academic record as well as any post-graduate qualifications, skills upgrades or membership of professional bodies and list only those extracurricular activities which reinforce the impression you’re aiming to create.
Current and contactable references are a must, but remember to ask your referees’ permission before putting their details forward.
Whether you’re a first-time applicant or an experienced veteran of the working world, a carefully crafted and professionally presented CV is vital. It’s your way of being noticed, it tells your story – so make sure you will be heard, Marshall said.