Lots of things change in Autumn, as well as leaves and the weather. New starts and new school terms can get you thinking about a new job, as well – so you’ll probably need a CV.
If it’s been a while since you looked at your CV, or if you’ve never needed one before, you may be dreading the prospect. How do you capture everything that makes you a brilliant candidate for a job, and show the person in charge that you’d be perfect? How do you even start to condense your years of experience into two sides of A4?
Some people find it really hard to write about themselves (I certainly struggle) – it can be hard to evaluate what to include, and what to leave out. Here are a few tips to help you look into that mirror, and pick out your best bits.
Put your name very clearly at the top. In big letters. Maybe even in bold. This document is all about you, so make sure they know it.
Briefly, where you’ve come from (the important bits of your experience) and where you want to go – the ideal job or career you want to get into. This bit can be tougher than the rest, so you could leave writing this until last.
Job History next – or is it?
Traditionally on a CV, this follows the summary immediately, and is listed in chronological order, with the most recent job first. However, some types of experience are more important than others. The most recent stuff could be the most relelvant, but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you are getting back into a career you left ages ago, you may have stacks of great knowledge that could get lost far down in the depths of a career history.
So instead of leaping straight into the list of positions you’ve held, why not list a summary of your key skills instead? Under each one, mention the job you acquired it in. You don’t have to say at this point when you worked there – let find that later. This is a great chance to give a fuller picture of what you can offer, rather than just defining you by the jobs you’ve had.
And even better, if you are creating your CV to apply for a job advert you’ve seen, you could even match your list of key skills to the ones they are looking for – make it as easy as possible for them to see why you’d be great.
Now do the Job History
Chronologically, with role, organisation and dates, and a bullet point description of the responsibilities you had. Elaborate on the relevant ones, and keep the summer jobs you had as a teenager very brief.
Education and Qualifications
Same thing – most recent and relevant first, and work your way down to GCSEs. You don’t need to go into the detail of subjects unless you think it’s important.
And that should have taken you to two pages. This is important, too – lengthy enough to be competent, short enough to be readable for a busy recruiter.
Next week, some tips for writing covering letters…