CV’s – one of the toughest and most tedious parts of getting a job is writing and finalising yours and it’s understandable since that’s your first point of contact with your possible future boss which is why it needs to represent you in the best way it can before you’ll usually get a chance to meet them and show them how great you really are.
Believe it or not employers generally spend only 5-7 seconds on average looking at a CV which is why it’s so important that you make your CV the best of the bunch so they spend that 5 seconds on other candidates and more time on yours. That’s easier said than done obviously and you won’t always be able to impress every employer who looks at your CV because sometimes they’ll simply be looking for someone with different skills or experience.
With that said there are some useful things that you can apply to your CV to give it the best chance of being read and not thrown in the bin at first glance. Read our tips below and optimise your CV for maximum performance!
1. Keep It Simple
As much as we all love colours, cool fonts, and testing out the new document layouts on Microsoft word when it comes to writing your CV it is always best to stick with simplicity. Now that doesn’t mean you should never add some flare to your CV but only do so if you are applying for a creative job; for example a graphic designer may include examples of previous work within their CV.
But when it comes to applying to handing in your CV at your dream job or apprenticeship then one of the first things that catches the eye of an employer is a neat layout and having all of the information they need in easy view without having to work out what your name is because you selected
Harrington instead of a standard font like Helvetica.
Just remember, keep it simple and make sure everything on your CV looks neat at first glance, imagine you were an employer picking it up for the first time and try to pick our key bits of information that you might want to know, and if it’s hard to pick these out then change some parts to make it easy!
2. Bigger isn’t always better
Like we mentioned at the beginning, a CV is usually your first touch point with an employer so it’s understandable that you want to let them know all the great things about you and how perfect you are for the job but that doesn’t mean making your CV so long to read that they switch off and push you to the side.
The recommended length for a standard CV is 2 pages and that’s generally the answer you will get everywhere you look, however if you are a school/college leaver who is either applying for their first position or maybe you’ve done some work experience in the past, then a 1 page CV should be more than enough space for you to make an impact on an employer without boring them.
If you do have a lot of experience to include in your CV then you might need to run on to two pages but always be careful that you aren’t just making the CV longer to read without adding any extra value or useful information. There are some points that you may not need to tell the employer in the CV which can waste space and could devalue some of the more important points you made.
3. Be Relevant
This tip is likely to be the one you dislike the most because it might involve tweaking your CV for each employer that you give it to, however this can be one of the most effective ways of building a relationship with the employer before you actually meet them.
If you’re preparing your CV to apply for an accountancy apprenticeship then you would probably need to include any skills, hobbies or past experience that relate to business, maths or working in an office. Now this doesn’t mean not including all of your experience or skills in your CV just because it’s not relevant to that job since as a young person you most likely don’t have loads of experience in the field you are applying for.
But it it important to show in your CV that you understand what the employer is looking for in an applicant and emphasising those points to highlight how well you suit the job you’re applying for; at the same time including any other work experience or achievements that are not exactly relevant can still be helpful to show the employer you know how to act professionally in a work place.
It is all about highlighting the points in your CV that prove to the employer that you are the right person for their specific role, and not just showing them you’re a good all rounder with no specific career interests. So when submitting your CV anywhere always consider whether your CV seems relevant to that job and in particular to that employer, and if not then go through it and tweak until it does.
4. Include a cover letter / note
Following on from our tip about being relevant a cover letter can be the perfect way to explain how well you suit the job you are applying for, and interest the employer in you to entice them to read your CV and be more engaged whilst doing so.
As a young person with little to no experience your cover letter is a great opportunity to briefly introduce yourself, what you have to offer and why you are so interested in applying for the role. Just a few points that explain ho
w you fit the bill will be more than enough for a covering note for example describing what made you consider pursuing that type of career, and what has lead to you applying to that company in particular.
Telling the employer a bit about your career journey/beginning gives them an insight in to you and what your plans for the future are which can then help them see whether they align with the future of the role you are applying for.
The employer will only spend a minute or two at most reading the covering note so make it brief but impactful, and as always relevant.
5. Check – Check – and Check again!
It’s all well and good having great qualifications and relevant experience across the board but if your CV is holding some spelling mistakes then believe it or not this could be your fast-track way of getting thrown in the bin.
It might be clear to you by now what our message has been throughout these tips and that is how important it is to make the employer engage with your CV aswell as just read it, as opposed to not even reading it at all. So checking your CV and cover note over before even printing it off or emailing it could be the difference between getting called back for an interview or not.
Some great ways to ensure the CV you are submitting is as ‘clean’ as possible are to run it through Microsoft word spell check if you haven’t already and here you should be able to confirm that there are no spelling mistakes; but grammar and sentence structure is a different story.
Asking 1 or more people to read over your CV out loud can help you not only by them picking up on any mistakes in the make up but can also allow you to consider how an employer might feel about and interpret your CV.
Handing over a CV for a job that you really want can be nerve wracking as you worry about whether you included enough, showed you are what they’re looking for, or how well your CV matches up to other candidates; but by taking these 5 tips in to consideration both while writing your CV and just before submitting it then you can eliminate the need to worry and be sure that your CV is the best it can be when applying for the role.
If you’re looking to get more experience in a career, or want to get your career started with an apprenticeship then Click here to view vacancies available in Buckinghamshire especially for young people.