It may seem a little daunting, impossible and even harsh to put all your life on a page or 2 of A4 paper, but when the average employer (and recruiter) spends around 8-10 seconds scan reading a CV, you need to make sure it screams 'this is me!!!'
We have put a few pointers down to help you get your CV placed in the 'yes' pile not the circular filing under their desk (aka the bin!)
Keep it to just 2 pages or less. Think about content that is relevant for where you are in your career and life stage. For example, that job in the video shop when you were 16 was great to get you on the customer service career route but as a valuer at 38 years old, its kind of irrelevant now. Likewise, as a trainee it would be really important to hear about any work experience you did or commitments you made at school such as DoE or volunteering.
Is it relevant?
Lets say that you are applying for a step up in your career and your last CV was very neg based. 5 years and a promotion later and you are applying for a manager position. Is you CV highlighting the skills you have in people management? Are the bullet points you wrote putting you as neg still or a motivator etc?
The first thing I read on a CV is the paragraph at the top. It should tell me everything I need to know about you within 5/6 lines. Make sure its written well, concise and descriptive.
Don’t leave gaps
Gaps in CV's make people suspicious. Were you at her majesty's pleasure for a while? Unlikely, but trust me, that's what we are thinking!
If you have had time out of work then put a few lines explaining why, having kids, travelling, volunteering etc.
Check it for mistakes
Mistakes cost you. A few typing errors and it doesn't matter how amazing your CV is, the damage has been done. Use a spell checker and get a friend to read it through. Sometimes it just takes a fresh set of eyes to see something you have re-read 20 times over.
Tell the truth
Everyone lies on their CV, right? NO! Stop! Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can’t answer questions on what you claim to know. And that can be VERY awkward!
What are your figures like?
This may sound obvious but backing up your achievements with numbers makes selling yourself much easier. Don’t just say that you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six month period, what was your instruction to sales ratio, branch turnover, increased profit by x. Shout about the numbers especially if its a sales focussed job. But this is also true of customer service with reviews and recommendations etc.
How's it looking?
Don't put a photo on it. Don't make it into loads of columns. Just make sure its easy to read, the formatting is the same throughout the document and its not too 'wordy' by using bullet points and short paragraphs.
Still need help? Here is a great tool from Total Jobs to help you write your first CV.