It is a great idea to have a CV prepared that you can quickly send out when applying for a job. However, recruiters may be reading hundreds of applications, so it is really important that your CV can stand out from the crowd. Be prepared to spend time and effort fine tuning it so that it is concise, snappy and positive.
So, how you can do that? Read the job specification and make a note of the key skills or experience they have detailed. Do your skills match these? If so, it is time to tailor your CV to match the job.
The starting point is your personal statement which will be at the top of your CV. Make it factual and link it back to the job description. It should be about 3 or 4 lines long, it is better not to ramble. Remember it is likely to be the first thing the recruiter will read. As an example you could say “A recently qualified Accountant with experience working in the Financial Services sector. An excellent communicator and proactive problem-solver who demonstrates initiative and results focus in her work”. As you can see you don’t actually need to use “I”.
The purpose of your CV is to give the recruiter an overview of you and provide them with enough information to leave them wanting to know more about you. Hopefully they will be sufficiently intrigued that you’ll be invited for an interview, which after all is your goal.
Provide details of all your jobs chronologically from recent to past. You’ll need the company name, dates of your employment and of course your job title. Please avoid spending half your CV describing what the company does – they can look up those details on the internet.
The recruiter wants to know about you and whether you match their criteria. So, rather than providing a list of your responsibilities, talk about your achievements. Why not give examples of things you have done which tie in with their requirements? Make it obvious that your skills and experience will add value to their organisation.
Ideally the whole CV should be no more than 2 pages. Remember to include your contact details, some information about your outside interests and you can add a couple of referees. Make it easy to read; consider the typeface and the amount of white area around the text. Keep it professional. Remember to check the spelling and grammar – it is a good idea to ask someone to review it. As well as checking for errors why not ask them to see if you really have provided evidence that you are a good fit for the role.
Finally, do send a cover letter or email. This is another opportunity for you to highlight why your skills and experience meet their requirements.