Everyone knows how important it is to make a good first impression, but perhaps you’ve never realised that this impression starts way before the interview. Most recruiters will ‘meet’ you for the first time on paper, either in a cover letter or more likely your CV, when ultimately they’ll decide whether you’re even worth meeting face-to-face.
We can’t write your CV for you, but we do have a few tips to make sure your CV doesn’t end up in your desired employer’s trash before they’ve even got past your contact details.
1. Check your spelling
If your CV is littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors your chances of scoring an interview are slim to none. If your knowledge of punctuation isn’t great make sure you get someone reliable to proofread your CV and edit it accordingly before sending to potential employers.
2. Use a sensible email address
You might be oddly attached to [email protected], but there comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to adopt a more professional screen name. Think first name, last name, date of birth and you’re on the right track.
3. Type your details correctly
￼￼￼There’s no use in writing a top-notch CV if the recruiter gets a wrong number when they try to call you- they won’t seek an alternative method of communication if you can’t get your own digits right.
￼4. Keep it short and to the point
Your CV should be an absolute maximum of two sides of A4- it’s a CAREER history, not your life history. Sections to include are a career objective (i.e. what you’re looking for), your education history and qualifications (for recent graduates this will generally include your higher grades, as well as your degree and which university you attended), your previous employment and work experience (most recent first) and two solid references who know you from either an academic or professional capacity. Personal interests are optional, but often help to show you have a life outside of the office- just don’t write “going out” or “partying” if you’re serious about getting employed.
5. Include any specialist skills
If you’re fluent in Photoshop, can speak four languages or can confidently use a content management system, these are things that employers want to know. Anything that could give you the edge over rivals with the same degree classification as you is something that you want to flag up.
And A Word About Cover Letters…
There’s nothing wrong with using the same basic cover letter structure for multiple job applications in a similar vein, but do remember to change the name of the person you are addressing, as well as the company you’re applying to and the position you’re applying for. Sending a letter to Glamour magazine and calling them Grazia is not a good way to get noticed.