Hello Squaddies, welcome to post 1 / 5 of our Working During A Pandemic Series, inspired by Meghan’s collaboration with Smart Works. Smart Works is known for providing women with clothing for their interviews, but less known is the work they do behind the scenes, preparing women for interviews, brushing up their CV’s and advising on the overall job searching process.
We’ve decided to create a collection of blog posts dedicated to helping you land and keep the job during this incredibly difficult time. We hope you find it useful, and let us know if you land a role!
A well-written CV/Resume is a gateway to job success, and the first impression an employer will have of you. Covid-19 has led to devastating job losses and business closures for millions of people across the globe.
This has created an incredibly scarce and competitive job market, and it is likely that you are going to be up against people far more experienced than you who are applying for the same role, so you need to ensure your CV/Resume is perfect from start to finish to stand out.
Here are our top tips for writing the perfect CV/Resume, and at the very bottom of this article, we have listed some useful resources.
Make sure you have researched your role
Read each job description carefully and make minor adjustments for each role if needed. In order to cut processing time, artificial intelligence CV/Resume scanners have become the norm, so make sure to include keywords that come up regularly in job postings for your role. Focus on industry-specific skills, and knowledge of particular systems/processes commonly used in your role, as well as qualifications and certificates that will give you an edge.
Get the formatting right
If you’ve ever used a website like Canva to search for CV/Resume layouts, you’ll have noticed many of these platforms give you templates with bright colors and creative layouts. You may think using these will make you stand out, but it can look unprofessional in the eyes of some employers and recruiters.
Stick to a standard, simple font like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Ariel, and use a white background and black text. Use bold and slightly enlarged headings to separate the different sections of your CV/Resume. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has to read hundreds, if not thousands of applications. Format your CV/Resume in a way that is easy to read and gives them what they want quickly. Use either Microsoft Word, or Google docs to create your CV/Resume.
There is no set length for a CV/Resume, and very senior roles may require multiple detailed pages of information, but most roles require no more than 2 A4 pages.
Make sure it is well structured
As a general rule of thumb, your CV/Resume should be structured in this order:
- Name, number, city, and e-mail at the very top.
- A personal profile is a brief introduction of your skills, experience, and knowledge. Keep it short, pack it with strong, in-demand experience/skills, and avoid using common clique terms like ‘self-starter, hard-working and team-player’.
- A bullet-pointed list of your most relevant skills and your most valuable attributes.
Your work experience. This should be listed in reverse order from your most recent job role. Each job position should include; the name of the company you worked for, the dates you worked there, and what your position was. Below this, achievements then list your ‘key responsibilities’ and ‘key achievements’ in each role. Key achievements are something that many people actually miss out on, but it is vital as it provides proof of an impact on the role.
Your education/qualifications and dates of when you obtained them.
- Hobbies, interests, and outside projects can also be added provided they are relevant to the job.
Check your grammar
Now that you’ve written your CV/Resume, you don’t want to be overlooked for minor spelling and grammar mistakes. Use a grammar checker like Grammarly which is free for basic features. You can pay an upgrades fee for more advanced features. Grammarly also offers copy-editing services if you want a professional to check for mistakes also.
We also recommend putting your CV/Resume into a speech reader, so you can listen to what it sounds like when someone else is reading it. This is particularly useful for those with dyslexia or other reading and writing difficulties.
Things to avoid
Do not add your age, date of birth, full address, and marital status to your CV/Resume. Unless stated otherwise, do not include a picture either. They will have little bearing on your CV/Resume, take up extra space, and could also contribute to a negative bias depending on who is looking at your CV/Resume.
Also, make sure that your e-mail address is professional. If you still have your e-mail address from when you were a teen, change this. Badgirlforlife69@gmail.com is not going to make a good impression. Use some variation of your names like m.jacbos.com or mary.jcbs.com – you get the idea.
Looking for a job can really feel like a job itself, but hopefully, this will help you with your search. You can search Google for CV/Resume templates specific to your industry and role. Just keep in mind our tips when using any template and adjust accordingly.