Competition for jobs in the UK is fierce, so as a candidate, you’ll want to do all you can to stand out from the crowd. Your CV is your first impression, and a good CV could open the door to your next interview.
1. Include all your basic details
It’s surprising how many people forget to add these: name, address, nationality, country of residence, contact number, email address, languages spoken (and proficiency). Some countries like to see a photo of the candidate on the CV – your recruiter will let you know if that’s the case.
2. Start with your most recent experience first
When a recruiter picks up your CV for the first time, they are interested in your most recent and relevant experience. To make a strong first impression, list your most recent job roles and projects at the top of your document. When listing your work experience, consider adding more information about relevant roles and less information about those with no relevance. The further back your CV goes, the less information is required on specific tasks and challenges performed years ago.
3. Tailor your CV to the job role
Although the style and layout of your CV is undoubtedly important, the proof is in the content. If you’re applying for a job that has been advertised, then take the time to match the language used in your CV to that used in the advert. If possible, make a copy of the original job advert and take note of the most important skills and experience. Adjust your CV so that it provides examples of these specific skills and strengthen your claims by highlighting what experience you have in those areas.
4. Quantify your achievements
Anybody can claim that they contributed to a company’s overall target, but only the most efficient candidates provide statistics and figures to back up their claims. Where possible, try to provide some context to your achievements: how quickly did you complete your project? How did this compare to previous projects under the same remit? Any specific numbers you provide will help a recruiter better understand your achievements, so the more specific you can be, the better.
5. Have a unique selling point
What genuinely makes you different from other candidates? Everyone has a particular strength that makes them valuable to a company, ensure you make a point of mentioning yours. Anyone can list ‘soft skills’ as a strength but highlighting a particular aspect of your personality that really stands out will ultimately be more relevant and impressive than generic skills that everyone has.
6. Use keywords
Just as websites these days are commonly optimised for search engines, your CV and online profiles should also be written in a way that makes them easy to find. Recruitment agencies and hiring managers often search for candidates online so you need to make sure your online profile is optimised. Identify the keywords you want to be identified by and make sure that your CV and online social profiles reflect this. Using terms like “the latest technologies” won’t help you, be specific. Ensure you fully complete Linkedin and job board profiles where the option is available and take the time to do so. It might lead to your next interview!
Tip: Have a look at a number of job descriptions of roles that you are interested in and include some of their keywords that match your skills and experience in your CV.
7. Do not exaggerate
Exaggerating your experience or some other detail on your CV is likely to end up in an embarrassing situation before, during or after the interview. When found out, it won’t look good, and will likely be the end of the process for you. Always ensure that the information you are giving is truthful.