These are very uncertain times with many of us now finding ourselves out of work. Some of us will be lucky and will go back into our old jobs but unfortunately some of us won’t. If you find yourself in a situation of job insecurity or perhaps low job satisfaction, this is a good time to start preparing for an active job search. With some extra time on your hands, start thinking about how you can put your best foot forward and get your CV ready to go.
Remember looking for work is essentially a sales process. The first step in the process is your CV which acts like your personal brochure. As with any sales process, you need identify your USP (Unique Selling Point), so think about what skills, experience,
traits you have that others might not. What makes you the ideal candidate? How can you make yourself stand out from the rest? Are you a graduate who has finished with a 1.1 honours degree or perhaps managed to get some work experience relevant to the roles you are applying for? For more senior people, maybe you have some very job specific experience or led a project to successful completion? These all need to be considered before even starting with your job search!
So, what about the CV?
There are two crucial elements to get right – layout and content.
Make your CV stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of word templates available online. If your IT skills are a bit more advanced, why not try using graphics software such as Canva. Again, there are plenty of striking CV designs available here.
There is plenty of information online in relation to what needs to be included in your CV and how you can lay it out. Dayjob have some great templates that are easily downloaded. Make sure you get your advice off Irish sites as other countries, such as the US, have different styles.
The most important thing is that your CV immediately gets the attention of the reader. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your CV will be read thoroughly by the recruiter. Chances are that it won’t!! It will probably get a 20 second glance. So, make sure the information you want them to have is immediately and clearly available to them. Remember your Unique Selling Points – they need to be obvious.
Start with a professional sounding Personal Profile. This is your sales pitch. In four or five lines, explain why you are the right person for the job.
What comes next depends on what type of work you are applying for.
If you are a graduate, what are your key skills and how have you demonstrated them – you should include four or five and make sure that they are essential skills for the job you are applying for. Try not just list words, prove you have them, for example:
Leadership – Demonstrated and developed through leading various project groups in college and captaining sports teams
If you have more experience or are going for a more senior role, it might be worth giving a career summary or presenting your career highlights and key achievements. Alternatively, key achievements can be included under Career History.
After that, your CV should contain Education, Career History, Personal Interests and Achievements. Try and keep it to two to three pages. However, don’t feel you have to follow the conventional layout and content structure. Your layout and content should be in a format that best sells you. Perhaps you’re looking at changing careers and know you have the skills for the new job. You would therefore be better off doing a skills-based CV rather than the more common biographical CV. Perhaps your education isn’t relevant – leave it out or move it to the back. Maybe your education is more important than your career history – put a higher focus on education including main modules and key projects!
It is often a good idea to get some professional help with your CV. A career coach can help you identify your unique selling points. They can act as a soundboard and provide impartial help with what needs to be included in your CV and what doesn’t.
Hartley People currently have open vacancies across all sectors, to view them click here
Best of luck!