In high school, I was told by a Careers Advisor that employers receive hundreds of CVs and if yours doesn’t stand out, there’s a high likelihood that it won’t even be looked at. She advocated the use of decorative borders and coloured pages to draw the eye away from the plain white paper and black Arial 11 font of the rest of the pile.
I took the advice a wee bit too literally an submitted my first CV to multiple businesses right out of school with hand drawn blue flame borders and stylised dragon on the front. Amazingly, my parents actually allowed me to mail it out and more amazingly, I got my first full time job with it – at a place I stayed through five years, four promotions and six payrises.
While you don’t need blue flames (and we certainly don’t advocate it!) on your CV, a little extra attention can mean the difference between an instant no and placement on the maybe/yes pile.
1. Spellcheck and Sanity Check
This should be an obvious one but I’ve received so many CVs in the past where he words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ were intentionally spelled out rather than abbreviated but were misspelled or where the company name was actually an entirely different company showing the person submitting the CV must be sending it out to multiple openings and didn’t have the forethought to check that the previous submission hadn’t carried over. If you are going to make a point of mentioning the company or the position in your resume or cover letter, ensure they are the right ones.
Don’t use your computer’s inbuilt spellcheck, read it out to check for readability, grammatical errors, typos, spelling and continuity errors before finalising.
2. Include Your Contact Information
Many times we’ve received CVs we loved but the person didn’t include even basic contact information meaning we couldn’t contact them to schedule an interview – these weren’t low level jobs either, we’re talking submissions for C-Suite roles.
If your email address is the same one you set up at age 13 when you were finally allowed one, change it – no employer wants to receive a CV submission for a high-level role from lilmissnaughty’s Hotmail address.
Include your full name, contact address, email, phone and a Linkedin profile if you have one. Add a section immediately at the top to include a very brief overview of your skills and experience so the recipient has an idea of who you are before they look into the detail.
3. Present Your CV to Stand Out
While MS Word and similar provide adequate templates for building your resume, buying a template online from Etsy, a creative store or through JAGGAR’s Online Services, can create not just a professional, well-presented CV but also a personal brand. Ensure that your chosen template is clean and easily readable and try your hand at creating a personal brand logo to set yourself apart. This is especially important if your desired role is in the creative field.
4. Make it Short and Sweet
Your CV needs to be succinct. Don’t list all your bobbies or certificates and specific classroom studies. A simple note of your highest school and tertiary qualifications, the provider and date is sufficient.
Under each role heading, add a short two to three line description of your responsibilities. If you have more than this and find it relevant to the role you’re applying for, add it in bulleted form and keep each point to one line maximum.
Eliminate irrelevant information and if your first language isn’t English, don’t use large words in an attempt to convey a deeper understanding of the language because this usually translates to a nonsensical resume..