In a highly competitive job market, standing out and creating a good first impression are crucial. This starts even before meeting the employer, through your CV, which is a showcase for your credentials and career successes. To help you write a successful CV that will cut through the competition, the Kerr Recruitment team has put together this useful guide with tips and advice.
A good CV is more than a list of work experiences; it is a selling tool that reflects a candidate’s personal brand and how their past achievements are relevant to the role for which they are applying. According to the 2010 Orange County Resume Survey, the most important aspects that employers look out for in a CV are previous related work experience, qualifications and skills, the legibility of the document, accomplishments, spelling and grammar. Naturally, if you are a recent graduate, your education becomes a more significant factor.
This is a summary of your skills, qualities, work background, achievements and career goals. Keep it concise and highlight relevant, specific skills, such as strong presentation skills or handling demanding customers.
Work experience and achievements
Start with your current or most recent employment and work backwards. Include details such as the employer, job title, responsibilities and the period you worked for them. In this section, it is essential that you highlight your achievements and the circumstances as well. For example, “creating and driving a new sales initiative within a market where the organisation previously had no presence”.
Present your points in bulleted lists and use positive language with ‘action’ words. Where possible, relate your skills and experience to the specification that the employer is looking for. If there are gaps in your work history, such as job searching, travelling or volunteering, we advise that you include them with details of any skills you’ve gained in that time.
Education and qualifications
List your most recent qualifications first, such as work-related courses, and include details like the name of the institution, the dates the qualifications were awarded and the corresponding grades if you performed well. On-going learning shows a candidate’s initiative and commitment to career improvement.
The skills section is your opportunity to highlight skills that are relevant and essential for the role. If you speak more than one language fluently, be sure to highlight this, as multilingual candidates are often in demand.