There are no hard and fast rules for making a great CV, but there are some points that recruiters agree make the right impression.
First and foremost, tailor the CV to the type of job you’re looking for. It might sound obvious, but the CV must tell the recruiter quickly why you would be suitable for the role. Address any specific requirements in the job advertisement clearly and you’ll have their interest.
Include a summary. Something that rounds up both you and your work history. It needs to sell your features and benefits, just like selling a car or TV. You must convince the recruiter that they need what you’re selling. A viable summary will convince the recruiter to continue reading. That’s reason enough to get it right.
There should be no chronological gaps in a CV. It’s a two page story of your life, and should have no gaps whatsoever. Did you go travelling after college? Put it down, then highlight how it made you a better person. Were you unemployed for a few months? Again, put it down and try to highlight a positive like retraining, taking the time to learn new skills, or doing volunteer work.
When adding employment history to the CV, remember to include previous employers name and the industry they are in. It adds a context to the information. Don’t worry if it’s a different industry than the vacancy, if the experience matches what they are looking for it doesn’t matter.
Use proper formatting, white space and a standard font. Recruiters won’t even bother with a resume that is hard to read. With dozens of other applications to read through, they no longer have to. So keep the font clear, at least 9pt and use white space to make the text easy to read. Then check the spelling, grammar and facts.
Once checked, leave it a day then edit again. You would be amazed how different something looks once you have slept on it. The best editing is done at least a day after the writing. Use it to your advantage. Be harsh with the editing. Read the contents of the CV and remove anything that isn’t relevant to the role. If it doesn’t answer the requirements of the job description, don’t include it. You can relate your life story once you have the job.
The most important thing to remember when writing a CV is to tell the truth. It may be tempting to embellish or to lie to make yourself seem more suitable for a role, but don’t. Employers are checking people out, which means everything you say in your CV had better be verifiable. Anything that doesn’t match up to what you put on it will get you consigned to the bin.
Writing a good CV is part investigation and part marketing. First identify the need, then make yourself the solution. Address the requirements precisely and you’ll get an interview. It’s as simple as that.