Yes, it’s annoying that you’ve prepared what you consider to be the perfect CV only to have to repeat the same information in so many different formats to please various agents and potential employers. BUT, bothering to prepare THE BEST CV YOU POSSIBLY CAN (and remembering to update it as your circumstances change) is certainly worthwhile as it’s your entry ticket for a new job and often the first thing that an employer will see. What you decide to reveal in that CV is what they will base their impression of you as a potential candidate on.
Here are some helpful tips to make sure you include all the information an employer will need to recognise your talents:
- Adapt your CV for each separate job application – one way to do this is to make sure you use the same keywords and phrases within your CV and covering letter as stipulated in the job specification.
Top Tip: Try adding keywords in a brief bullet list of your skills to the top right hand side of your CV. This can be revised each time you apply for a different job to match their requirements.
- Make an effort with the presentation of your CV – did you know that there are free CV and covering letter templates on Microsoft Word? If you’ve already got Word installed on your laptop/tablet then you can check out the full range available from general layouts or photo resumes to specific CV templates for chefs, bankers, legal secretaries and more.
- Consider using Social Media – Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn can help you connect with people and perhaps give you an edge BUT make sure that the content is appropriate for prospective employers to see!
- Leave gaps in your employment history without giving an explanation – If you are currently unemployed and you’re worried that your CV shows too many periods of unemployment, make an effort to fill the gaps with something useful. For example you could do some voluntary work – this shows potential employers that you are keen to work. Alternatively you can use your time wisely by training for a new skill – this can be as simple as following on-line tutorials or attending free classes run by your local authority.
- Use someone’s name for a reference without asking their permission – most employers would prefer to have your most recent employer as the main reference, but there may be valid reasons why you would prefer not to. Choose relevant people who can vouch that you have the skills required for the job you’re applying for, but don’t forget to ask their permission first.
Top Tip: If you are applying for many jobs, it may be best to ask your referees for a written testimonial which you can then copy as many times as necessary. When contacting your referee you could subtly remind them of your skills and strengths so that they include them in the testimonial.
- Forget to check over your CV for spelling/punctuation or grammatical errors before sending it off – if you know that this isn’t your strong point, either use spellcheck or ask someone else to check it over for you.
Good luck with your job applications. Try not to get disheartened if it seems you’re getting nowhere. Apply for each new job as if it’s your first and pour as much enthusiasm into each application as you can.
Keep watching for more hints and tips on interview techniques …