The other day I was looking at the roles for PAs in London and I must say there are loads of exciting opportunities out there for Assistants. I was really impressed with the array of roles and the different skills and qualities needed. It seems like a lot of organisations are beginning to understand how much a PA can bring to the table (LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS). So, if there are lots of great roles out there it looks like it might be a good time to do a little CV update and a nose around the recruitment websites! If this is striking a cord why not have a look at my ultimate CV template for PAs.
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. Remember to add a few keywords from the job description. This will help your CV get through those pesky recruitment algorithms. If you need more help on your keywords here is a great post.
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 to 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.
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. Remember keywords are also important here. If you have done the work that is required in the potential role make sure you spell it out throughout the CV. More on this below…
Know what they want
You will be filling a certain role and you should tailor your CV accordingly. I have a few versions of my CV that reflect the 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.
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 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 once!) 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!
If you need a little more help perfecting your CV I have put together a generic template for PAs looking to move into an EA role. I hope you find it useful!