If you are applying for jobs but not getting interviews it could be because your CV is letting you down. Your CV is the key to attracting the recruiters attention and selling your suitability for that perfect next job and this is a guide on designing a CV to give you best possible chance in reaching the next stage of the process, the interview. Do not forget a well-designed CV is essential to the job search process and should mirror the job for which you are applying as closely as possible and should be designed with your personality and industry in mind.
Structure of the CV Decide what type of job you will be applying for and include this in the first line of the profile section of your CV to give the reader an idea of your area of expertise. The covering letter or email is the best place to personalize your objective for each vacancy. There is nothing wrong with using an objective statement on a CV, however, don't let it limit your job choices. As an alternative, you can alter individual CVs with personalized statements that reflect each job title.
Personal details Since your CV is an advertisement for you and your skills, you should think about the design of it from the readers standpoint. Your name should be the first thing a reader sees and remembers. To accomplish that, there is really only one rule to remember: Your name should be easy to read and it should stand out above the rest of the text. People must be able to locate you, but your address and phone number are some of the least important marketing details on your CV. Some managers spend only a few seconds reading a CV and might get through only the first third of it, if you are lucky. The reader's eyes should be drawn immediately to the things that will motivate him or her to read on.
You should make the address section part of the overall design, much as you did with your name, but keep it in an easy-to-find location. This can be done by placing the contact details at the top of the page, under your name. You should always include your e-mail address and mobile phone number. The same goes for your website address if you have a CV online.
It is a good idea to also add your marital status. Your age is no longer legally required but if you choose to add it, put your age, preferable to date of birth, as the reader has not got to work it out.
Education and qualifications Under the profile, list any education or training that might be relevant. If you are a recent school/college leaver or graduate and have little relevant experience, then your education section should be placed under your personal details. As you gain more experience, you could gain more qualifications and your formative education can usually be omitted. If you participated in college activities or received honours or completed any notable projects that relate directly to your target vacancy, list them. Showing school education and activities on a CV is only appropriate when you are under 22 and have no education or training beyond school/university. Once you have completed either university/college courses or specialized technical training, drop this information altogether. Continuing education shows that you care about life-long learning and self-development, so think about any relevant training since your formal education was completed. Always look at your CV from the perspective of a potential employer. Don't waste space by listing training that is not directly or indirectly related to your target job.
Career history Starting with your present position, list the title of every job you have held on a separate sheet of paper, along with the name of the company, and the city or coutry if abroad, and the years you worked there. You can list years only (1998 to present) or months and years (May 1998 to present). People who are detail oriented are usually more comfortable with a full accounting of their time. Listing years alone covers some gaps if you have worked in a position for less than a full year while the time period spans more than one calendar year. For instance, if you worked from September 1996 through May 1997, saying 1996-1997 certainly looks better. From the perspective of recruiters and hiring managers, most don't care whether you list the months and years or list the years only. However, regardless of which method you choose, be consistent throughout your CV, especially within sections. For instance, don't use months some of the time and years alone within the same section. Consistency of style is important on a CV, since it is that consistency that makes your CV neat, clean, and easy to read. The description of each job should paint a picture, first of the work environment, ie. what the company does, if not obvious from it's name, the size of the department in which you worked and who you were responsible for and to whom. Secondly you should state the principle responsibilities and duties of the role. These responsibilities should match the vacancy as closely as possible in the order of their importance. Lastly it is often important, if possible, to mention personal achievements within the role ie. If a salesman, always over achieved sales targets, mentioning percentages and amounts of money. If an accountant the amount of money that has been saved due to your efforts etc. If there are a number of these achievements to be included, these can be listed to give them greater impact and reduce the possibility of rambling.
Other information There are very few times when personal information is appropriate on a CV. Usually such facts only take up valuable white space, especially details such as age, sex, race, health, or marital status, and other information that potential employers are not allowed to ask anyway. There are exceptions to every rule in the CV business, however! Here are some of them:
* International CVs often require age/date of birth, place of birth, citizenship, and a photograph. * Students, or those who have recently left college or graduated, often have difficulty time coming up with enough paid experience to demonstrate their qualifications. But, if they have held leadership positions in campus organizations or have supervised groups of people and organized activities on a volunteer basis, then an "Interests and/or Achievements" section could strengthen those qualifications. * A list of sporting achievements gives a sense of leadership and success or a list of sporting interests would be helpful for a person looking for a sports marketing position! * If you are looking for a job in sales where you would need to travel a great deal, mention you have a driving licence, or if overseas where relocating an entire family becomes expensive, showing that you are unmarried and willing to travel could be helpful.
And the list goes on. It is important to use your judgment, since only you know best what qualifications are important in your field.
I hope you are pleased with your new CV and it has the desired results in getting you those all important invitations for interview leading to your ideal job offer.
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