Let’s face it, the good old curriculum vitae leaves most people feeling fairly clueless. What do people want? How can I get that wow factor? Or even, what should be included? They leave us a little bit dumbfounded and questioning why you even wanted to apply for that job in the first place.
Unfortunately, though, it’s one of those demons that we all have to tackle, even if you pig out on Chinese food and Netflix as a reward once you’ve done it. If you’re at university you have an advantage. Somewhere in your university there is bound to be someone who can or will help, but time can be an obstacle. Although, no matter what, they are the people to go to, I hope that this while summarise a few things that may help get started.
- Remember! All jobs, work experiences and applications in general are to different companies. Although it sounds like a lot of work, customising your CV to each company your sending it to can be a huge selling point. Whether its including their colours somewhere in your CV or using some of their key messages in your cover letter can help get you noticed and encourage them to think you’re right for the job.
- Everyone says it and it sounds so clichéd, but uniqueness will really sell your CV to the company. We all hear about those examples of paper aeroplanes that have a link to the person’s CV on or those other interactive CV’s, but unless you’re hugely creative, you’re in the same position as me and have no idea what you could do to make your CV that one in a million. You can start by adding colour! If you look up curriculum vitae online and click on images you are almost guaranteed to have a page full of black and white A4 pages, so make yours that little bit brighter by highlighting certain words or different sections and you’re already a step ahead.
- Keep it concise! The last thing a company is going to want to read through are pages and pages of beating around the bush. Really your CV should be limited to 2 pages maximum but even then you may struggle with huge amounts of detail where they’re not needed, or even tons of repetition. Obviously, if you’re looking for a job in communications you want to show you have as much experience and skills in communication as possible, but if it’s not relevant does it really need to be repeated in depth 10 times.
- Sell yourself, but not in that sort of way. Really emphasise the aspects of yourself, your skills and your experience that really make you perfect for that job. You should always include a couple of short sentences (think of it as a mini personal statement) at the beginning of your CV. Use it to describe you in a couple of words, explain what experience or job you’re looking for, but also briefly cover your current situation. This can often be achieved in one word, graduate, undergraduate, etc. After this if you’ve listed previous experience make sure you emphasise the skills you learnt during that experience.
- Last but definitely not least, make sure your CV depicts you. Often your CV will be the company’s first contact with you, so make sure that whilst you’re selling yourself that you don’t drift off to dreamland. If you can’t talk about it in an interview or you character is definitely different to your CV persona, let’s face it, the chances of reaching the next round are thinned. So make sure that throughout the bigging up, giving them what they want and reciting your past that your CV really reflects who you are as person.
Hopefully, this will help through the work time woes, when trying to edit your CV seems like an impossible task. Obviously, every company is different and some will have specific trends or standards they want you to meet, but hopefully, in general, this will help you along your way!