One of the first hurdles fledgling job seekers have to overcome is figuring out how to create a CV. According to the dictionary, the term CV/Curriculum Vitae was derived from a Latin phrase meaning ‘course of life’. And that is exactly what your CV is meant to be: a concise document that stipulates the course of your life that pertains to your chosen profession, for perusal by a prospective employer. As such, it is important that your CV makes a good first impression.
This is why we have thought it prudent to compile a list of CV writing tips that might help you to compile a resume that will catch the attention of prospective employers.
1. Keep it short and simple:
One of the most important things you have to remember when creating a CV is that you should never waste the time of the person reading it. While it may seem like a good idea to include all of the accolades you have ever received throughout your life this quickly becomes tedious in the eyes of a prospective employer.
2. Use a template, but customise it:
There are a plethora of online resources you may use to find CV templates that pertain to the particular industry you are applying to work in, and it is best that you find one that is suited to your specific field of interest. The CV of a copywriter must necessarily look different to that of a chartered accountant, so bear in mind that you should appeal to your target audience (namely your prospective employer) at all times.
Once you find the correct template, use it to compile the bulk of your CV and then proceed to customise it to represent you. You may, for instance, include relevant experience you have in other fields that may give you the competitive edge over other applicants, character references or any information that shows value and real ability. If the job you are applying for is portfolio-driven (e.g. graphic design, fashion design, copywriting, etc) you might consider creating a blog or website where you can post your portfolio in full colour for the prospective employer to peruse. This creates a very good impression and saves you the cost of repeatedly printing it out.
3. Steer clear from the following when creating a CV:
- Making unsubstantiated claims. You may feel that this is a good way of capturing a prospective employer’s attention but the ruse will be up before long and this will most certainly cost you your newly acquired job. Employers see dishonesty as a definite deal breaker.
- Including any information that may be used for identity theft. This is a matter that should be taken very seriously and you should safeguard yourself at all cost.
- Any information older than five years. Unless something is directly related to your field of interest you should not include it in your CV if it is older than five years.
- Contacts or character references you have not consulted. Always ask permission to include someone as a reference on your CV. If they are caught unawares they may react badly and lessen your chances of getting an interview.
CV guidelines vary from industry to industry, so make sure to do proper research before compiling your resume and cover letter for a new prospective employer. There are many other things you can do to make your resume attractive, some of which we will be posting in coming months, so check back often for more CV tips and hints.