Posted by Kevin Jarvis on 11 February 2014
A sparkling CV is the first step to scoring the job of your dreams. Unfortunately, most jobseekers are faced with conflicting information about how this marketing collateral can negatively impact hiring decisions.
To tailor the ultimate CV, you need to showcase your abilities, achievements and work highlights in a way that’s logical and easy to digest.
This guide to designing a resume that plays to your strengths is an instant passport to professional success.
Make sure you nail the basics
Remember employees and recruiters are hit with a barrage of CVs and are looking for quick ways to separate the wheat from the chaff. This means well-meaning resumes that blatantly ignore CV etiquette are most likely to end up in the ‘no pile’. Ensure your document includes your personal information, current contact details, qualifications and work history in chronological order and use a simple layout that’s readable and easy on the eye. And avoid the urge to embrace flowery fonts or left-field layouts – professionalism beats experimentation when it comes to creating a successful resume.
Have your work history tell a story
Your CV should provide a clear professional narrative and highlight exactly where you want your career to go. Achieve this by listing your roles, responsibilities and achievements in reverse chronological order so hiring managers can grasp the flow of your career. It’s also imperative to read the job description and research the role you’re applying for in order to ensure your future responsibilities line up with those you’ve explored on your CV. After all, you need to convince the recruiter that the job you’re applying for is the next stage in your professional journey – a challenge that demands that you remain strategic.
Embrace bullet points
If you’re creating a chronological resume, remember that bullet points are your best friend. Snappy lists of your responsibilities, achievements and professional outcomes present a crisp overview of your professional potential and career development and ensure that you don’t leave lingering questions to chance.
Don’t underestimate the power of presentation
A CV is a testament to your skills, abilities and work history and should mark you out as the most desirable candidate for the job. The best CVs are carefully proofread and published on clean, white backgrounds – leaving nothing to chance when it comes to presentation shows that you’re likely to extend this approach to doing the job at hand. Remember that a well-tailored document that reflects your career timeline over two concise A4 pages is more effective than a rambling missive that’s unlikely to impress anyone other than yourself. Editing out the parts of your work experience that aren’t relevant increases the chances that you’ll make a professional impact.
Labouring over a resume might seem tedious, but it’s a time investment that will help you hit home runs. If you take the time to design a CV that presents a sharp, coherent snapshot of your work history and capabilities, you’re likely to advance quickly up the professional ladder.
For more information on CV layout, read our article on How to write an effective CV.
Looking for jobs? Submit your CV to Robert Half today.