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Do’s and Don’ts for an Eye Catching CV

Are you confused about how to write your Curriculum Vitae (CV)? Not sure whether to include a photo or how to address selection criteria? Finding it difficult to condense all your information into two pages or less?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most people struggle with these common questions. Let’s take a look at basic Do’s and Don’ts for writing a CV that will secure the job interview you want.

Do Position Yourself Properly

Use your CV to position yourself by stating how you can help your prospective employer. How will they benefit by hiring you over the next person? Can you meet their requirements and help achieve their business goals? Use industry-specific words to describe your talents and match your skills to job requirements. For example, a person might write: “Advanced SharePoint Software Proficiency - I can help XYZ Company cut administration costs and improve overall team efficiency and productivity.”

Do Prioritize Information and Draw Attention Your Strong Points

The easiest way to emphasise your selling points is to put your best information first. If you are a new graduate, you would put training or education first, where it catches the reader’s attention. If you don’t have any formal qualifications, you would highlight your career and experience first and foremost. You want prospective employers to see your most valuable information at first glance. Bullet points are another great way to highlight your strong points; but don’t overdo it.

Do Care About Presentation

Whilst it’s not necessary to invest in flashy CV design, you should definitely take care in presenting your Curriculum Vitae. The overall look and feel should be uncluttered, neat and easy to read. You can achieve this by:

  • Using headings and subheadings, but keeping them to a minimum
  • Carefully selecting a few (and only a few) bullet points
  • Choosing an appropriate font such as Arial or Times New Roman
  • Avoiding the use of tables, underlining or unnecessary decoration

Do Proof Read

Always proof read your CV at least five times. Better yet, ask a friend or colleague to proof read your CV before you send it out. A second pair of eyes often spots mistakes you would otherwise overlook. You want to be certain little errors don’t ruin your first impression. Another tip is to read your CV aloud. It’s surprising how your ears can find an error your eyes missed.

Don’t Tell Them, Do Show Them

Avoid telling people that you are a “good communicator”, “excellent team player” or “self starter”. These phrases have become overused and border on being cliché. Instead, show how you have demonstrated these qualities in previous roles and include evidence. For example, you could write “As the state training manager, I developed a sales training program and trained over 500 staff. The result was a 40% increase in annual profits.” You’ll agree; that’s a much more powerful statement than “outstanding team manager”.

Don’t Include Unnecessary Information

Modern CVs are far less concerned with your personal details than the Curriculum Vitaes of 30 years ago. You can exclude some personal information such as your address and date of birth. Your prospective employer needs only enough information to contact you. You should also exclude irrelevant education records such as outdated primary school education. As a general rule, if your information is not relevant to the position you are seeking, don’t include it.

Don’t Procrastinate

It’s easy to become so overwhelmed by the thought of writing the perfect CV it never gets done. The truth is, any CV is better than no CV. Make it your top priority to assemble one in the next 48 hours. By allocating two days to the task, you’ll have the time necessary to plan and write an impressive document.

The good news is there are no absolute rules to writing the perfect CV. Of course, you should always include convincing information carefully matched to job requirements. Always use a neat, clean design. Aside from that, you have the flexibility to build, assemble and create a document that reflects you and targets your dream job.

Visit our Careers Resources section for articles related to your job search.

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