Developing an excellent CV

The Best CV Strategy
 
If you want the best CV, you will need to get organised. To create a winning CV, you will have to change your writing style. Sarah Berry, best selling author of Write a Perfect CV in a Weekend has this advice to offer you: If you are still in any doubt about your CV get it reviewed. Let’s take a closer look at CVs.

You have probably heard it all before and you may even think that your current CV is pretty good anyway. It has done the job in the past and you have always managed to get interviews. However, whether you are new to the job market or working your way up the career ladder, you may feel that you should be earning more money, have more perks or be snapped up more quickly. Job selection is always down to how you sell yourself on paper. Have you got the sales tactics right for the level of job you are going for? Have you rewritten your CV or just revamped it? Have you equipped yourself with the winning CV approach?

So, it’s not the glaring problems that sink most CVs but the easy-to-overlook goofs. They may not seem like much to worry about, but when you think that most personnel managers get hundreds of applications for one job, it’s obvious that a good CV can make the ultimate difference. Some candidates spend more time planning an interview outfit than writing their new CV. Yet without the right approach, an excellent CV and sales tactics, you won’t need that new outfit anyway! Sad but true.

So, what are the most common CV mistakes? Listed below are the most common pitfalls; if you are still in any doubt about your CV, why not opt for a professional CV Assessment from Career Consultants? If you can avoid the glaring goofs, your CV will stand out for all the right reasons.

Not tailoring the CV. Ten years ago it was alright to have a one-size-fits-all approach to your CV, but with today’s more competitive job market, what’s needed is a ‘couture’ CV that you can update and alter to highlight the ways you can benefit each particular company. A standard CV says, ‘I need a job, help me’; a couture CV and covering letter says, ‘I love your company, you have a problem and I am the one to solve it’. With time and effort spent on selecting your capabilities, and by focusing on the company and not yourself, you will convey your sales message.

Not answering the questions posed by the ad. It is too easy to skip the questions because you are in a rush or you want to see if you can get away with not doing it. However, waiting until you get to the interview to show them how good you are is a risky tactic. Read through the ad and notice the employer’s subtle requests. What personal qualities is the company looking for? What skills are identified as essential? What factual information has been requested? Identify the employer’s requirements, not yours. Does your CV answer the how, what, where and when questions?

Waffling too much. How long is your CV? The ideal length is two to three pages and one page for the covering letter. If you have just left college you will have less to say, but don’t pad your CV out with waffle. One page of useful information is undoubtedly worth far more than two pages of irrelevant facts.

Putting information in the wrong order. Your introduction is one of the most important parts of the CV. So many job hunters hide their personal details at the end of the CV and others often omit details like age, marital status and contact details. The sell is vital in terms of CV writing but most candidates choose to bombard the reader with personal profile sections, career history and education. Candidates forget to mention what they have for sale. Hence the most important part of the sell is the capability section. What have you put up for sale on your CV? Have you clearly identified your level of expertise and competence? Have you done everything you can to convince and reassure your reader that an investment in your skills is a good choice?

Droning on at length about your education. How long is your education section? Are you in doubt about your skills and expertise so you have listed out every qualification you have ever gained? Have you gone down to minute details such as your driving licence and your piano examinations? Qualifications are vital because they convince the reader of your credentials but you have to remember that employers are looking as well for candidates who possess commercial awareness. So keep this section to the factual details and demonstrate your commercial value in the skills and capability section. Don’t bother with GCSE grades unless they are your highest qualification or you are applying for your first job. Otherwise just give the qualification gained (the number of GCSEs), the educational establishment and then the date. The emphasis is always on what you have achieved and not on the date.

Too much detail about hobbies. Hobbies don’t need to go on your CV. Why would your employer be interested in your scuba-diving skills anyway? Leave the hobbies section off the CV but make sure that your CV has a personality. You can still get over your personality type, what your personal strengths are and how you mix without mentioning that you go to Church every Sunday. Make your personal message subtle and effective. Don’t worry the reader with the impression that you will have to take some days off work occasionally to recover from a personal injury incurred through your weekend sporting activities!

Not including a covering letter. Asking for what you want is tough no matter what it is but when there is a job at stake it can feel even tougher. Gift-wrap your CV by including an effective covering letter. Ask for the job by highlighting your skills and areas of expertise. Spend over 75% of the letter talking about the employer and not you.

Take one more look at your CV. How good is it? Is it a dinosaur in terms of CVs or is it an up-beat, positive and assertive document? Will it beat the competition or let the competition through? Make sure your CV clearly identifies your value, worth and your level of expertise. If you want an impartial view on the effectiveness of your CV, please click here

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