CV writing is a nightmare. Every time it seems like you never get it right. there is always that one little thing you are missing or doing wrong. Well, look no further we are here to help you master CV writing. In this article, we give you the 5 golden rules of CV writing to guide you on your next job application.
Research is king
The first thing you need to do before writing your CV is to conduct pre-CV research. You need to figure out what information you need before you write your CV. The biggest mistake people do when writing a new CV is to skip research, then edit, and make use of their old CV. Your CV should be tailor-made for each role you are looking to apply for and reusing the same CV over and over will result in a generic fit for all CVs which does not make you stand out among other applicants.
So, before you write your CV, research the role you are applying for thoroughly, take note of the skills required for that role, the keywords used, and the language which has been used in other similar job advertisements. You can find all this information by looking at job boards/ websites and job advertisements posted in your local newspaper.
Besides the content in your CV, the structure of your CV will define the overall look of your application. The structure of your CV also determines how the whole document will be read. Structure your CV in a way that content is accessible quickly and easy to find. Use clear headlines and separate each section of your CV using reasonable space and demarcations. CVs normally begin with contact information followed by a personal statement, key skills, work history/experience, education, and references. Make sure you structure your CV in a way that a busy recruiter will be able to see all the essential information on the document in little time.
Simple and plain is always the answer when it comes to CV formatting. Stick to a clean and legible font that can be easily read. Always use plain colors when it comes to font, black font on a white background is best. Avoid using funky bright colors when writing your CV for it is unprofessional and at times not legible. Make use of bullet points when it comes to lists. Do not put any unnecessary graphics in your CV, keep it simple.
Keep your CV short and straight to the point. Usually, a CV must be 2 pages in length, in those two pages, you must be able to fit all the information that is required on your CV. Recruiters do not have any set strict rules or requirements on the length of a CV. However, it is up to your own discretion to determine the optimal length of your CV is going to be. The optimal length of an entry-level CV is one page, 2 pages are even pushing it. Recruiters do not have time to browse through many pages due to the sheer amount of people applying for that job. Unless you are a highly experienced professional your CV should not be longer than a page. The golden rule for CVs is always to keep it short and to the point.
Make use of Data and Numbers
When it comes to your work history and achievements people tend to lean on job titles and responsibility. That is all good and necessary however it does not showcase your ability and your impact. Some people fill up their work history with responsibilities of their past job instead of something important like achievements. So, what does that look like you might ask well, look at these two examples and not which one is more impressive than the other?
Example: Sales representative
Example 1 (Achievements)
Exceeded retail sales targets by an average of 17% each quarter.
Raised customer retention rates by 15% over a 3-year period.
Example 2 (Responsibilities)
Promote and sell products/services to customers
Develop and maintain customer relationships
Looking at these two examples you can see one is superior to the other. Make use of more achievements rather than filling your CV with responsibilities. Achievements show the recruiter that you are a results-driven individual and you can make a significant impact in their organization.
In conclusion, in order for you to master job searching you need to create a good CV, there is no other way. Take note of these rules and you will produce an application that will get you interviews. Good luck.
- Research about the position first before you write your CV
- Structure your CV in a legible manner with clear headings and all your lists must be in point form.
- Stick to a clear and legible font, a black font on a white background is the best.
- Keep your CV short and precise
• Highlight your achievements