I’m often asked by people how they can create the best first impression in order to secure their dream job. I always say the same thing. Make sure your CV (resume) is a document you are proud of and one that shows you in a way you would like to be perceived.
The interview is a separate process but your CV has to get you there! Many excellent candidates are overlooked by employers by virtue of having a poor CV. In this market, when there is fierce competition for jobs, it is imperative to have a strong CV. It doesn’t matter if you have just graduated college or have 6 years on island experience in Financial Services, a good CV is an essential sales tool at all levels.
Before you press send………
- Never say “I” – always keep it impersonal e.g. Responsible for
- Do a spelling and grammar check – if there’s a red or green line under text it’s your computers way of telling you that you have made a mistake. Take the time to correct it.
- Ensure all your contact details are on the document, not just on the cover letter.
- Have your education and work experience in descending order from the most recent.
- Always display months within a role (e.g. Dec 2007 – Jan 2010) so the manager can gauge how long you were in a particular post.
- Check your most recent job. Are you still there? If not the end date should be clearly marked.
- Clarify all gaps. If you went travelling for a year say so!
- Bullet your duties and responsibilities – this is so important! There’s nothing more unappealing than a large paragraph of insurmountable text. Be assured nobody is reading the content.
- If you are writing a profile / objective make sure it makes sense for the role you’re applying for – if not edit or remove it altogether.
- The document should only be between 2-3 pages at best – edit and remove unnecessary content.
- Consistent formatting and spacing is essential.
- Size 10 font is an absolute minimum – spare my eyes please! Ideally use 11 and never larger than 12. Be mindful to use standard fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman and Tahoma only and note that black is the only acceptable colour for text. Ever.
- Use key words to attract attention. If you are a Solicitor with 4 years PQE don’t be shy about it!
Once you follow these steps and keep the document focussed on the end game (getting a job!) you will see your call back rate increase exponentially. Bear in mind that creating a CV is not a once off occurrence, it’s an ever evolving document so be prepared to continually revise and update as the years pass.
Greater effort brings greater reward!