Writing a CV

The 3 most important aspects to focus upon when writing a CV

The interaction between your CV and the hiring manager is the key to success. Get this interaction right and you should be one step closer to getting hired.

Don’t underestimate how vital it is to connect with the employer through your CV. A simple list of all your greatest achievements may not be enough. You need to build a rapport directly through your application, and make a fantastic first impression.

Here are the 3 most important aspects to focus upon when writing a winning CV:

Communicate the right details

You need to write a CV that takes notice of what the employer wants. You should not attempt a generic CV which actually flips that approach around. The employer will be less than impressed if they have to dig through your skills and achievements to try and make you match the job description. Always tailor your CV to the role for the most effective results!

The details you are communicating to the employer need to be relevant – and the RIGHT details. Although there may be aspects of your CV which are not directly relevant to the role, you can however highlight and expand upon what is.

Look back over your experience to see what would impress the employer. You need to connect the dots and show them experience which is relevant and that they can use. Leave everything else to a minimum and try not to list tasks for roles which are meaningless.

Every skill and qualification that you write on your CV needs to correlate in some way to the role and/or the business. In some instances you may not realise at first glance that something you did has any bearing – but you could be wrong. If you’re applying for a sales role but you have experience in selling a different service or product – it doesn’t matter. You still have sales experience!

“The trick is to put yourself in the shoes of an HR manager or recruiter and imagine your CV was one of hundreds floating across your desk. Will a quick, two-minute skim convince that person that your application warrants further consideration?”

~ Abintegro

Easy to read format

Your CV has to be easy to navigate. The hiring manager may only be interested in certain sections, so don’t bundle your details together. Separate each section with clear headings and even subheadings if needed.

You margins from the edge of the page are also very important – too far away would make the information look condensed. Small margins would look strange and could put the employer off from reading your CV. Take a step back and look at your entire application including cover letter. Are the margins just right?

Spacing is also very important. Each section should be spaced adequately. One space may not be enough, whilst three may bee too much. Take into consideration the font style and size. This will be a deciding factor.

Bullet points are also a great way to list certain details – like your tasks and responsibilities. Skills can also be listed with bullet points, and anything else that would otherwise make for an undesirable lengthy paragraph.

Here’s a great guide to designing documents that are likely to be read on the computer screen.

Keyword friendly

The hiring manager will have used certain keywords and industry jargon within the job advert. You need to match those keywords to show the employer you are aligned.

Keywords can come in all different shapes and sizes. They can relate specifically to technical terms and hard skills. Or, they can relate to soft skills and the general approach of the role. For instance, the job advert may state – ‘building a rapport with the customer is important’. So the keyword ‘rapport’ would be great to use in your CV.

Soft skills are just as essential as hard or specific skills. But what are soft skills? Communication, problem solving, organisation, time management – are all soft skills. They are more generic and often would not require a qualification.

Most job seekers fail to inject the relevant soft skills into their CV, and don’t provide the employer with a performance indicator. However, the employer may have also stated the soft skills which are required, and you can use the same keywords.

Words like dynamic, rapport, communication, team worker, empathy, negotiation; are all great words to match on your CV. However, you must demonstrate that you have shown these soft skills in the past. If you don’t, the employer will put these words under the title of ‘cliché statements’. Without any evidence it will just be like smoke in the wind.

Find out more: What are the best words to use in a CV or Résumé?

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