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 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 trust me these days there is a crowd). Here are a few tips on putting together a good resume, and my CV template for Assistants.
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 usually are 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 form – 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 position and the skills that you gained while you were there. I was only working at my last company for a little under two 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 should be 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 specific 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 excellent 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 two pages, ever!
CV template for Assistants
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!