Sunday, 2 August 2009

How to prepare a CV that gets your foot into the door

If you are looking for a new job, you should spend a reasonable amount of time on writing your CV. A good CV won't get you the job, but it can get you in front of the employer. If your CV lets you down, you won't even get that far and miss your opportunity.

What do you need to consider to make sure your CV is standing out in a good way and gets you noticed?

Spelling mistakes are so easy to avoid. After all, there is an in-built spell checker in word. So even if your spelling isn't top notch, there is no reason for your potential future employer to know this. And a CV with spelling mistakes indicates that you are not really interested - otherwise you would have taken the time to check.

The same is valid for grammatical errors. We often try to impress in our CV - and this means using complex sentence structures and difficult words, we would never use in real life. But being out of our comfort zone we make mistakes. And if the sentence is not grammatically correct, it might be difficult for the recruitment manager to understand it. And he won't waster a lot of time on trying to figure out what you tried to say.

When reviewing CVs you often find CVs with gaps in them. If you haven't been employed for some time, please say so in your CV, ideally with an explanation as to why this was. This shows the employer that you are open and honest and don't try to hide something dark in your past. It will make it less important and saves the employer from the annoying task of having to find out what you've done during those gaps.

Your CV is the first thing a potential employer sees from you. You therefore should try to make a good impression. If they'd see you in person, you'd dress smartly, make sure you look professional. You need to apply the same logic to your CV. Make it look clean, ideally get all the relevant information onto 2 pages (there is no need to go into too much detail, just state the most relevant points and give more information in the actual interview) and make it easy to read. By cramming too much information into the document and applying a complicated layout, you won't get the employers interest, but rather get them annoyed and bored.

And finally, be honest without false modesty. The CV is there to get your foot in the door, to sell you as a promising candidate. If you exaggerate to the extreme the employer will know that you try to come across as someone you are not - and they won't believe a word of your painstakingly written CV. But there is no need to put your light under the shovel neither - after all, you want to impress, so make sure you state your achievements and successes.

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