Whether you call it a resume, CV, or Curriculum Vitae, updating this document and registering it with a few recruitment agents or headhunters should be the first thing you do in your job hunt. It’s quick to do and will get the whole process started. It will also help you to focus on who you are and what you can do. Remember, your job now is to get a job, so move to action asap!
Here are some tips to maximize impact and readability:
· Keep it short. Total length should not exceed three pages, and ideally no longer than two pages. To help keep it short, be brutal with how much of your experience to include, and don’t be too descriptive with each entry. Experience from more than 10 years ago should only be included to show a continuum of employment since college/university, and then only include this in bullet form (ie. one line per role).
· Include a synopsis—a brief summary at the top of who you are professionally is a good idea. This should not say what you want to be; it needs to be supported by the detail in the CV.
· Write in the third person—as well as being consistent with the dozens of other CVs the reader is trawling through, this will help you to objective in writing it.
· Order of the CV contents for a experienced professional should have details of experience before academic qualifications.
· Do not include personal information unless life interests are something important for the role, eg. hobbies, what you enjoyed at college, and coaching of your son’s rugby just take up space and the reader’s time. Some people will tell you that this kind of information helps to show that you are a person. This is complete rubbish—for anything other than an entry-level position, an employer wants to know your professional abilities: don’t distract her/him with nice stories about yourself.
· Remember, you have complete control of your CV—in fact when writing your CV and cover letters are probably the only times when do you have complete control over the communication in your job hunting. But with control comes responsibility. You don’t have to include everything about yourself, but you can highlight exactly why you are qualified for the role in question. Hence, you should write a tailored CV for each and every role that you apply for. Yes, this is extra work, but each job opportunity will have different requirements. Also, the reader will be looking to see how your CV shows that you meet the requirements they’ve specified. Check the whole thing for grammar and spelling errors—these will almost certainly have you application rejected immediately! Font should be between 10 and 12 points.
· Include keywords that are relevant to your skills and profession. This is essential to allow you CV to come up in electronic searches. But make sure that the inclusion of each keyword is supported by actual experience, either in your CV, cover letter, or interview.
· Dates should be included for all entries, both professional experience and academic qualifications. And be careful to not have any chronological gaps.
· Quantify your achievements. Try to show measures for each of your achievements (eg. “obtained 7% reduction in operating costs” rather than “reduced costs”).
· Don’t use any gimmicks! Do not use colored paper, unusual fonts, post-it notes, or even a photo of yourself. Let the contents of your CV do the work!