Specific Words & Phrases
The right language can make or break your application. Unfortunately, figuring out which words to use isn’t always easy. Start by making a list of any repetitive terms you can see in the job description or on the company’s website. This will help you to choose words that create a synergy with a recruiter or employer.
Once you have a list of terms to use, create a second list of words to avoid. Overused clichés will either leave your recruiter or employer rolling their eyes, or they’ll mean you just blend into a sea of other candidates. Words to avoid include:
Facts & Evidence
There are plenty of stories out there of people who have embarrassed themselves by “embellishing” their CVs. While it might be tempting to put some extra flourishes on your application by bending the truth, it’s not worth the risk.
The digital world means that it’s easier than ever for recruiters and employers to find out whether a candidate is exaggerating their achievements or making them up on their CV. To ensure that you come across as honest and trustworthy, make sure that you use quantifiable facts and evidence.
If you claim that you’ve accomplished something incredible for your last employer, explain the details in depth using numbers and statistics.
Be prepared to provide reference details if necessary too.
Selling Points: Roles, Responsibilities & Skills
Your experiences are some of the most essential details on your CV. Examine the job description for the role you’re applying for and focus on using your knowledge and relevant skills to prove you have what your employer is looking for. For instance:
- Roles: If you’re applying for a managerial position: Highlight roles where you acted as a leader. If you have no prior management experience, look for other ways to exemplify your leadership skills. Perhaps you lead a volunteer team for your community?
- Responsibilities: When listing prior positions, you’ll need to include some information about what your job involved. Don’t list everything you did in your last post. Instead, focus on echoing some of the responsibilities listed in the job description.
- Skills: Cut out any skills that aren’t relevant to the role. The goal here isn’t to show that you’re a person of many talents. Instead, focus on proving that you’re specifically suited to this particular role.
Accurate Grammar & Spelling
Aside from skills and experience, your recruiter or employer will also be looking for things like attention to detail when reading your CV.
Remember that the smallest mistake can make a significant impact on your ability to get a job, and your word processor won’t pick up every typo. The sentence “I am an accomplished Manger” won’t stand out on your computer, but it’s a red flag to an employer.
Read through your CV at least three times before sending it. Consider asking a trusted friend or mentor to read the document too, as sometimes it’s hard to pick up issues in your writing. Look for:
- Bad spelling
- Incomplete sentences
- Long, rambling paragraphs
- Filler words like, very, actually etc.
Excellent Formatting & Apperance
CVs are all about making the right first impression. This means that the document’s appearance needs to demonstrate the time and care you’ve put into crafting it. Formatting and structure on your CV play a big role in how recruiters and employers perceive you. Aim to make the document as easy-to-read as possible.
Avoid rambling paragraphs and break up the content with bullet points and headings. Remember with smartphone technology taking over the world the first time your CV is read could be on a recruitment consultants phone and there is nothing worse than looking at bunched up text that is difficult to read.
- Choose a font that looks good both on a screen and printed, such as Arial or Helvetica.
- Head your page with your name, not “Curriculum Vitae.”
- Include plenty of white space.
If you’re sending your CV as a digital document, make sure to save it with an easy-to-find title like “John Smith -CV.”
I know this might seem totally logical to you and yet here at The Recruiting Office we see CVs every day where the individual has not taken the time to make their presentation stand out. There is a well known saying that says; “the way you do anything is the way you do everything”, imagine then the impression a rushed CV might give to a potential new employer.
Up-to-Date Contact Information
Your contact information is the first thing a recruiter or employer will see on your CV. Making sure that you include this information is only the first step.
As you enter your contact details, remember:
- Remove any old business email addresses or work numbers.
- Double-check that you’ve spelled your email address correctly and that your phone number is correct.
- Consider updating your email address. If you set your address up years ago with something like “FoxySarah28@gmail.com”, replace it with a professional new address like SarahG@gmail.com
- Include links to relevant social profiles. Your new employer or recruiter may appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you on your LinkedIn profile.