Job application success series - CV writing

  February 20, 2017

Welcome to the second article in our 'Job Application Success Series'. So hopefully your are having much more fun searching and applying for jobs that actually sound interesting and fit with what you want out of your career. That's an excellent start, but let's be frank; unless you're CV is up to scratch you're going to struggle to get a foot in the door. CV writing is one of the things a lot of people get wrong, even those who have been in the working world for many years. Of course, the trouble with writing a CV is that there's not actually a defined 'right' way, and what constitutes a 'good CV' is very subjective. That being said, there are a few things that will help (and a lot more that will hinder) your CV to be noticed by employers shuffling through thousands of applications.

Firstly: be yourself! Yes a CV will typically include certain features such as job history, educational background and references, but that doesn't mean you can fit your personality in there somewhere. The trouble recruiters have when reviewing a CV (especially for grads) is that they all looked the same: blah blah working....blah blah blah....organised. Make yours stand out from the crowd by adding a bit of honesty in there, and something that's a bit different.

Related to point one is the importance of being truthful; this is another one not everyone manages. But remember that if you are selected for an interview it will be based on the information you give on your CV and application, so whatever you do, don't be tempted to lie! It may seem fine to say you've got experiencing in accounting when in reality all you've done is count up how much money you've got leftover at the end of the week (it's only a small exaggeration after all). But if that's one of the reasons a company shows interest in you, and they then expect you to demonstrate this skill, both you and they are going to be in for a shock. So keep the embellishments to a minimum.

Finally one of the most important things you can do to make you CV really work for you is to tailor it to the company and job you are applying for – yes this means extra work, but it also means better chances of being picked by an employer. Pick out the skills that will actually matter for the job you're applying for and swap out those that are irrelevant. It's better to have a smaller amount of highly relevant information in your CV than reams of useless nonsense that an employer then has to wade through. You're given the job description to help you decide if you might be a suitable candidate, and your CV is your first line of attack in proving this is the case.