This month is a bit of a fresh start for me, I’ve just turned a decade older and I’ve also just started a new job… this week in fact! It is all going well so far, as always lots to learn and new people to meet but I’m excited about the role and working for a different company with fresh challenges. There must be something in the air because I know a few people who are looking for a new employer at the moment, some have walked into another job and others are struggling to get past the application process.
The first step on the long walk to a new job should always be a good CV, obviously the detail in your CV reflects your experience but a well laid out and readable resume will help you stand out from the crowd (and thrust me these days there is a crowd). Here are a few tips on putting together a good CV, I have attached an example CV based on my own at the bottom of the blog.
Start as you mean to go on
At the top of your CV should be your name, slightly obvious I know but you would be surprised at some the CVs I’ve seen before! Below my name I have a short personal statement that spells out the skills and attributes I have acquired during my career, I recommend putting this at the top of your CV so that you are selling yourself from the moment your potential employee picks up the piece of paper with your name on it.
Don’t repeat yourself
I do not include my contact details on my CV because these days you are normally either applying for the job online or through an agency and you have to give them your details anyway. Also if you write a covering letter, which I think should always accompany an application, then again your details will be included there. The same applies for other information that doesn’t need to be on the application – your age or your health status for example.
I think of my CV as a list of my skills and achievements, a concise and well written list but a list neither the less. Always start with your most recent job first and work your way backwards. Generally the most recent role should have the most information but I also think the detail should reflect how long you were in the role and also the skills that you gained while you were there. I was only working at my last company for a little under 2 years so my CV doesn’t have as much detail as my previous employer; where I worked for twice the amount of time and did a more substantial role.
Make use of bullet points
The CV has to be easy on the eye, it can be packed full of information but it also has to be easy to read. I write a small paragraph on the role and the company and then have a bullet point list of the tasks, skills and work below. Don’t just copy your job spec, ensure you add some colour to the role so that the potential employer can get a flavour of how you work, what you like to do and the skills you have.
Know what they want
You will be filing a certain role and you should tailor your CV accordingly. I have a few versions of my CV that reflect different skills I have so that if I apply for a role, for example, which involves lots of event planning I make sure the knowledge I have in that area comes through, the same with a board level EA role. I would strongly recommend that you don’t lie on your CV but I would also say if you know you can do the job you are applying for then showing your skills in a way that will push you ahead of everyone else can only be a good thing.
Additional information and extracurricular activities
I do think that you should have additional information on your CV that shows your background and personality but at the same time I keep this to a minimum and put it after my work history. I include the following in this order:
- Professional qualifications – Anything relating to the job you are applying for and that will show you are interested in furthering your professional development.
- Education – Do put down where you went to school or university (your interviewer might have gone there too – this happened to me recently!) but do not put all of your grades down, instead give an overview starting with your most recent qualification.
- Computer skills – Again relate your skills to the job you are applying for, as an assistant we have to have good computer skills so make sure this has been noted down on your CV.
- Interests & activities – Keep your interests professional! Do add a touch of your personality here too, add any unusual hobbies if you have them if you don’t here is the place to make slightly more out of that time you went scuba diving or horse riding or anything that you could talk about for 5 minutes at the end of an interview!
Last but not least your CV should be no longer than 2 pages, ever! As I said a generic copy of my CV is attached here
Do let me know if you find this useful or if there is anything that you add to your resume that makes you stand out.