How to land your dream job | Part 1: Writing the Perfect CV
Here at RedCat Digital, our candidates come first and we want to ensure we do everything we can to help you find your dream job. So we will be introducing a three part series of top tips on how to accomplish this. The first part of this series is about the importance of writing the perfect CV.
The first thing to understand is that your CV is the client’s first impression of you, so you want to make it a good one! Employers tend to make up their mind about a candidate within 60 seconds of looking at CV, so it’s important to grab and hold their attention ensuring they read every last part. Use your CV as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd: Express yourself and be innovative!
Your CV is an introduction to who you are and what you do. It will either get you an interview or could mean you’re rejected from the process, so let’s get the basics right! Your attention to detail is vital; we find it’s best practice to review your CV the following day with a fresh set of eyes; triple-checking for spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
Even as a specialist in your field, you don’t want to be too generic with your CV. Tailor your CV for different sectors/roles/companies and draw out the most relevant skills and experiences you have for each role you apply for.
What is going to set your CV apart from everyone else? Impact. Highlighting your key successes and achievements makes for a more interesting read than a reinterpretation of your job description. The more facts and figures you can include will demonstrate what singles you out over your competition. This is the most common mistake with CV’s we receive. Make sure your brilliance is as tangible as possible!
When it comes to design, we’re not asking you to cram pictures and colours onto the page, but instead, create a simple and clean template with consistency throughout to demonstrate to an employer that thought and effort has gone into its construction.
Pay attention to fonts! The font sizing and style you choose can either draw or detract a client from your experience. Stick to one font on your CV but vary the styling; Use bold or all-caps for your titles and use a regular or light styling for your text.
It’s also important to break up large paragraphs of text, this can be done by using bullet points. Be concise; a 2-page CV with clear evidence of your career is preferable to a 5-page CV including a day to day run through of every role.
There is also the opportunity to add icons to your CV. This can act as way to show your attention to detail. These can be used in relation to your contact details or even your interests. There are many websites that offer the chance for free icon downloads, a favourite of ours is Flat Icon.
CV Content Breakdown
Include your full telephone number, email address and postal address – make sure they are correct and up to date. Another good tip is to add a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile but make sure that it supports your CV.
Make the profile clear and concise, no more than 200-250 words. Let the employer know the sort of person you are, what you are looking for/direction you are looking to move your career in, what you have to offer and what makes you stand out. This is a short, sharp piece of text to engage with the employer and make them want to read further.
Include a short overview of the company as an employer may not realise the sector they operate in or the size and scale of the business.
Show your most recent education at the top and work backwards. If you have a degree you don’t need to include A-Levels unless they are particularly impressive or relevant (i.e. A* or to demonstrate language skills etc.) Do highlight Masters, PhD’s and MBA’s as these will make you stand out from other applicants.
Make sure they are qualified and tangible. Avoid generic statements; back it up with figures. This makes your CV clear, concise and impactful and demonstrates your successes with real world examples. This will make your CV stand out from the crowd.
Bold your job title and use the ‘reporting to’ to denote your seniority
Take the time to reflect on the role you perform and the role you are applying for. Make your current experience as relevant as possible, however, be honest as they will go through your experience in detail at interview
This is a chance to provide a little insight into who you are and will help to show you fit the company culturally. It is also a chance to demonstrate your passion for a sector beyond just words. For example, if I’m a recruiter and recruit into the digital sector I can put digital marketing into my interests section. It shows it’s a genuine interest/ passion!
If you are at the start of your career adding references from your internship may add credibility to your CV. Otherwise just add “available on request”.
This blog post can also be downloaded in a PDF format perfect for printing!