New Year evokes a feeling of new beginnings in all of us. It represents the chance for a fresh start, giving us the opportunity to set new goals in order to make the upcoming 365 days even better than the ones that have just passed. For some, these changes may come in the form of joining the gym to get fitter, travelling more to expand their horizons or a career change to progress up the ladder.
But, if you are looking to boost your career prospects and land a new job in the New Year, the first thing you need to do is to put together a CV that will be seen by potential employers, rather than ending up stacked up in a pile of forgotten documents on someone’s desk.
Here at Arro, we have some top-notch tips to help you in your quest to write an infallible CV.
When it comes to writing a successful CV, there isn’t really a secret formula or template for you to use; each CV is different and it should be tailored to the job you are applying for. However, there are some key sections which you should not forget to include and specific things you should mention in each section to help potential employers get to know more about you, and realise why you are the perfect candidate for them.
Personal and contact information
This section is your presentation card; it tells employers who you are and where they can find you. Because of this, you need to include your full name, current or postal address, email address and the best phone number to contact you on.
If you are on social media and would like to give potential employers the opportunity to get to know more about you before even meeting you, then you should include any relevant social media handles, especially if colleagues have endorsed you or written a recommendation for you on LinkedIn or if you are a creative and have shared some of your work on Twitter or Instagram. Not if there are just loads of photos of you looking drunk.
As we mentioned above, your CV should always be tailored to the job you are going for. Generic CVs are usually boring and unengaging, which is completely the opposite from what you want to come across as. Keep in mind that potential employers are essentially a customer with a problem and the relevant skills section is the perfect spot for you to sell yourself and show them that you have what they need to solve their issues.
This section of your CV will change a lot when applying for new jobs, mainly because the skills that you mention should match or relate to the ones that each potential employer are highlighting in the job description. Some companies may be looking for a team player and great communicator, whereas others may be more focussed on finding someone that can multitask and work under pressure, so make sure you identify what each employer is looking for and the skills that you have to match them.
Another section that can be crucial on whether you are invited to an interview or not is Work Experience. Sadly, a lot of people make the mistake of listing all of the places they have worked at, along with endless bullet points of the responsibilities they had at each job.
If you want your CV to be bulletproof you need to highlight your key achievements. Most employers will have an idea of what a ‘marketing assistant’, an ‘account manager’ or a ‘finance executive’ can do, what they don’t know is how good you are at it. Highlighting your previous achievements and quantifying them will not only give you more credibility, it will also get them excited about what you could potentially do for them.
There is no better closure for a CV than the reference section. This section is just an opportunity for you to reassure potential employers that all of the facts and achievements stated in your CV are true and that you have people willing to vouch for you.
Your references should be two people who have worked with you and know you well. Most of the time companies ask for references from your last two employers however, if you are unable to provide them for any reason (i.e. you are applying for your first job ever or have been out of work for while), some companies allow you to provide character references instead.
Best practice is not to give out your referees contact information on your CV. Instead you should only state that they are ‘available on request’. If an employer is willing to offer you a position, they will ask you for the contact details once they have decided you are the person they want to hire.
Format and length
Once you have finished filling in every section you think you need in your CV it is time to proofread what you have written, check everything looks fine and make sure your CV isn’t as long as your dissertation.
A good CV should be concise, clear and to the point. Don’t write long paragraphs of wordy and heavy text, instead try to make it paragraphs light yet interesting and punchy to read by using bullet points. Remember that potential employers will receive hundreds of CVs and the longer they are, the less inviting they seem.
When it comes to formatting, make sure you use a clear font in a good size; Arial 11 is usually ideal as it makes text easy on the eye, then justify your paragraphs and stick to two A4 pages, no more. If, after formatting your CV you have gone over two pages, then you need to re-check what you have written and make amendments. There is no point in oversaturating your CV with lots of information, just take the bits that will make you stand out and get rid of the rest.
Get on LinkedIn
Although this may not be a CV tip itself, it is a good piece of advice that can open a load of new doors for you in a professional way.
LinkedIn was created from the idea of being a professional and career networking platform and as such, creating a profile and keeping it updated is a good way to be more employable. HR managers and recruiters spend a lot of time on this network looking for candidates so, if you are looking for new career opportunities, then grab your computer and start polishing your profile.
Start the new year with a new Arro Early Access account to help manage your money quickly and easily. Sign up here.