How to make a successful CV and send a clear message to employers

Your CV is the first point of contact and you must make the most of this opportunity to grab the attention of potential employers.

With the prevalence of ‘one-click-apply’ jobsites and the use of employment agencies like EduStaff, you may find that your CV and application are competing against hundreds if not thousands of other hopefuls. With that in mind, here are a few pointers on how to tailor your CV and secure an interview for the jobs that you really want.

Spend your time wisely. It is far more productive to investigate the jobs and careers that you really want and make a tactical application, rather than applying for multiple opportunities and making a scatter-gun approach with a standard CV that will get you nowhere.

Select your target opportunities and research these positions. What is the employer looking for? What are the essential skills required for the position? Re-read the advertisement and the job specification again with fresh eyes. Make a list of the main criteria that the employer wants and look at your CV. Does the first half of your CV clearly show that you are the right person for the job? If not, you need to make a change.

By ensuring that the recipient of your CV gets what they need in the first half page, you will increase your return on investment considerably. Recruiters, employment managers and decision makers will invest a lot more time into scrutinising your application if you give them what they want in the first portion of your CV.

Make certain that the format of your CV is sector suitable. There are a number of horrible CV templates out there for all sectors, see for yourself by searching ‘Bank sector CV template.’ Stay with the crowd and offer the employer a format that reads well and that is familiar.

Please note that highly artistic or graphically busy CV templates might look nice – but these embellishments are rather distracting. Unless you are applying for a cake decorator or graphic design position then steer well clear!

The Golden Rule – keep your CV to two pages. It is a rare occasion where any more information is needed – try and keep some information back to discuss – but two pages would be plenty to discuss any lifetime of experience.

If you find that keeping to this two-page limit is difficult then look at the most relevant and significant elements that you are trying to communicate. Detailing the tasks you undertook in your part-time supermarket job during university might be unnecessary, but listing the skills you developed during this time isn’t (unless of course you are applying for a position in a supermarket!)

All in all, your CV should be an introduction rather than a biography. Any good CV is a stepping stone to gaining a place in the next level of the recruitment process. Any employer should be enticed to pick up the phone and arrange an interview and a suitable edited and targeted CV could be the key to gaining the career that you desire and deserve.

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