Your CV is so much more than just a record of your work-related experience. It is the stepping stone to opportunity. According to Forbes.com contributor Kerry Hannon, in Want an Unbeatable Resume? Read These Tips From a Top Recruiter, the average resume is looked at for less than 10 seconds. Because of this, it has to really pack a punch on several levels. Natasha Le Moine, Researcher at Oasis HR sees hundreds or CVs every day and shared her tips to successfully promoting yourself in her article, 10 Top Tips for Successfully Selling yourself with your CV.
Resist the urge to exaggerate your experience or skills on your CV. Sure it might look good on paper, but what do you do if you get an actual interview?
Back to Basics
You’ve heard all of this before, but it can’t be stressed enough. You have seconds to make an impression and a cluttered CV full of errors is the nail in your job-hunt coffin. Here are a few tips:
- Using lists and bullet points to make it easy to identify key details. Check out How to Ensure A Recruiter Reads Your CV, for tips on how to present your information.
- Keep style (font, color, etc.) consistent and professional.
“Avoid the fancy-schmancy layout, font, and other special effects. Stick to traditional font of Times New Roman, 9 to 12 point size, and black type against a white paper. You might try a different type size for your name and the companies you have worked for, perhaps your title. But try to be consistent. Go easy on boldface type, italics and underlining,” says Hannon.
- Eliminate spelling and grammar errors. Don’t ruin your chances before you even get a foot in the door. Employers consider these errors as a sign of unprofessionalism.
- Don’t use a personal photo. Let your skills do the talking.
- Regularly update your CV. Make sure your most-recent achievements are telling your story.
- Save it as a PDF or word document only, according to Resume Tips from Recruiters.
Let your personality shine
Including relevant interests, certifications and hobbies gives recruiters an idea if you are right for the culture of a business or organization.
Tailor your CV and cover letter to the role
No doubt, you have a wide range of skills that are important. The key is to tailor those skills to the position you are applying for.
“Displaying a firm grasp of the role and the business shows you are really serious about the opportunity. It shows both initiative and understanding,” writes Le Moine.
Same goes for the cover letter. It allows you add a bit of personality and, in your words, express how your skills would fit the position. A generic cover letter only shows that the job is just another on a long list you are applying for – not a good impression.
Keep it relevant
Believe it or not, recruiters don’t need to know everything back to winning the grade school spelling bee. This harkens back to the “tailor it” advice. Focus on information relevant to the position. Keep your language concise — long, over-inflated verbiage doesn’t add anything but comprehension problems. And, try to keep it all within two pages.
Honesty is the best policy
Resist the urge to exaggerate your experience or skills on your CV. Sure it might look good on paper, but what do you do if you get an actual interview? It will only come back to bite you in further conversations when you are proverbially writing checks that your experience can’t cash.
Honesty is also the best policy for gaps in employment. Gaps are a red flag to recruiters, so just be upfront about the reasons.