How to Update Your CV, With Help From Santa

In our previous blog post - Want to Unwrap a New Job This Christmas, published 12th December - we told you that now is the ideal time to start looking for that perfect new career move in the New Year. As you look to make a fresh start, why not begin by updating your CV?

Writing a CV can often be seen as a hellish task but don’t worry, Search is here to help! In keeping with the festive fun we will explain some of the key points to consider when updating your CV using our old friend, Santa Claus, as an example.

The first thing to be aware of is a CV isn’t a one size fits all. A ’good’ CV needs to sell your skills, experience and strengths so the company can see the value in hiring you. It needs to be more than just a list of your duties and responsibilities, it should highlight how you have developed from these, what you have achieved in this role and provide an insight into who you are as a person.

Although there is no set template to follow when constructing your CV, there are a few key points that you should consider:

The Look
Keep it clean and easy to read, use a standard font with type size no smaller than 11. It is also a general rule of thumb that a CV should be no longer than two pages. Recruiters will scan the second page and don’t want to see lots of detail. The will want to know what you have done most recently, anythingelse they may want to know they can ask at interview.

In most cases a standard work template with lots of white space will be adequate, however bear in mind if you are applying for a more creative role your CV is an excellent opportunity to showcase your talents. But remember to ensure it is still easy to read and the look doesn’t distract from the information.

As mentioned previously there is no set template or structure to how a CV should look, but the following sections serve as signpost to some of the relevant components you will want to consider.

Personal Details

This is a basic introduction to who you are and how the recruiter might be able to contact you so should be kept short. All that is necessary in the section is your full name; address, including your postcode; a telephone number - usually a mobile number is sufficient but make sure to set a professional and personal voicemail; and an email address, again use a professional one.

Common entries to this section that don’t need to be included are date of birth, martial status, a photo and nationality. You would only need to attach a photo or mention your nationality if its specifically requested or relevant to that job i.e you are applying for a job overseas and need to inform the recruiter of your eligibility of your right to work in that country.

Personal Statement

This should be a summary of the whole document. It should state what you have done in the past, what you want to do next and the skills you have to bridge the gap between the two. It should provide an insight into who you are as a person and entice the recruiter to continue reading.

The main rule regarding the personal statement is to keep it simple and specific! You will be competing against many other candidates so you need to stand out. Avoid using unsubstantiated, generic statements such as ‘target driven, self motivated individual, who also works well as part of a team’.

Career History

For each of your previous jobs include the company name, your job title and dates of employment and start with the most recent job first and work backwards.  You might also want to include a line that briefly explains what industry the company operates in and where it is based, as the recruiter may not know who they are.

When it comes to describing your career history, do so by detailing your achievements. This will help set you apart from other applicants than simply listing your duties and responsibilities.

Also, the more detailed and specific information you can provide, and less waffle, the better. If you can, try to include facts and figures, but be careful not to reveal any confidential information. Make every word count. If it isn’t relevant then don’t waste space.

Education

Similarly to career history it is important to only include information that is relevant to the post you are applying for. For a example, do you need to include your school results if you have a degree? Also, like your career history, your most recent qualifications should come first.

Most people choose to put their education after their career history, but there is no right or wrong way – it’s what works best for you. However, if your education or qualifications are crucial to the role, then make sure they come first, for example if you are applying for a graduate scheme.

Hobbies and Interests

It is common for a section like this to be included in CVs, but take a moment to consider is if it’s relevant. Is the recruiter going to care that you like going to the cinema or reading? Probably not!

However, if you are a keen fundraiser or have impressive results on a sports team, this may allow you to demonstrate how you have developed transferable skills that can be useful in the role you are applying for.

References

It is well known that these are available on request, so unless the job your applying for specifically asks for them in advance it is OK to leave this section out.

In essence your CV is an advert which you can use to sell yourself to potential employers. Think about if you were to replace the words “CV or Curriculum Vitae” at the top with ‘why you should hire me….” how would you then write it?

Would you employ Santa? Does his CV hit the mark? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook

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