As the employment scene gets more competitive with each passing day, landing your dream job can feel like it’s slipping away from your very hands. It’s true that the competition is strong, but that doesn’t mean your chances are slim. It only means that you’ll need to up your game, and it all starts with your CV which is the first form of contact you have with your potential recruiters, so you should craft it with meticulousness and professionalism.
To create a CV that just plain screams “HIRE ME!”, here are the steps you need to follow:
Research best practices in your niche
The first rule is that there’s no size-fits-all when it comes to creating your CV. Every industry will have its own requirements, so you’ll do well by researching your own niche and finding the best practices. For starters, this website gives a step-by-step guide for engineers to craft their CVs. Aside from the common points included in every CV, engineers will also have to add specific software skills and project values. On the other hand, graphic designers will be required to show their work, and as such, they’ll create a portfolio to send alongside their CV.
Create your CV structure
When it comes to crafting your CV, there are certain common points that every CV will include, regardless of the niche.
Here’s a quick overview of the main elements of a CV:
- Your Basic Information
First things first, you provide your basic information. This includes your full name, birthdate, nationality, military and marital information (if needed), level of education, and contact information (address, telephone number, and email).
- A Brief About Yourself
Why are you targeting this company specifically? Who are you as a person; what are your interests and passions? Write a brief of no more than 250 words about yourself. You can consider it as a short cover letter that builds a personal connection with the recruiters.
- Your Work Experience
This is the most important part of the CV. You need to show the experience you’ve gained without over exaggerating, overwhelming them with too many details, or being vague. List your work experience in descending chronological order, providing the duration of employment in each job. The older the job, the fewer details you should provide.
- Relevant Volunteering Experience
You may have volunteering experience only or in addition to work experience. That’s good, you should also add them. But don’t be tempted to add all your volunteering experience; only add what’s relevant. The recruiter isn’t really interested in how you’ve spent your summer vacation volunteering for a charitable organization.
- Relevant Achievements and Awards
Adding your achievements and awards serve as proof of how committed and exceptionally performing you are. But, again, only add relevant information to the job you’re applying to.
Be straight to the point
Don’t be tempted to stuff in all the information you have. Make it straight to the point without any fluff. For recruiters, stuffing too much information (such as copy-pasting your whole job description) is just as bad as having no experience at all. They don’t have time to read your essay, they want to go through your CV in a minute and get everything they need to evaluate you.
Along the same lines, providing vague information is both confusing and such a turn-off. Always be specific about the work you’ve done. Don’t use vague verbs such as “assisted,” “worked on,” and “cooperated” while describing your work experience. Mention specifically what you’ve done.
Don’t try to build a different image about yourself that’s not real. Never include something you haven’t really done, don’t add work experience if you’re not confident you’re up to the job. You can create a top-selling CV that gets recruiters lining up your doorstep, but if any of them calls your bluff, your whole career will fall into jeopardy. Be honest, even if it’s not the best skillset in the market.
Proofread and edit
Finally, always make sure to proofread and edit your CV. Go through it many times. Read it to check the information and make sure you’ve mentioned everything. Go over it again to check for grammatical and language mistakes. And check it once more from the perspective of a recruiter reading it.
Your CV is the most important document that can make or break your career. Recruiters don’t have enough time to go through every one of their applicants, so they filter the CVs they get based on their own criteria. You can improve your chances by researching and applying the best practices, and by being straightforward, specific, and authentic. When you’re done, make sure to proofread and edit your work and let the CV do the rest.