Here’s the final tips in our series on how to really wow an employer or recruiter with your first CV. We’ve covered how it should be structured; now here’s a few tips to help fine tune the end result …
This is all about ‘Product You’ and it’s vital that your CV and/or application stand out from the rest.
List your achievements – Tell them what you succeeded at rather than simply listing what you’ve done. Telling the reader that you took part in a fund-raising activity for charity can really grab their attention and whet their appetite to ask you more about it at an interview! If you give them too much detail, you risk them assuming there’s nothing more to tell and not then inviting you for an interview after all.
Tell me about a time – This works extremely well in interviews, but it might be worth bearing in mind when you are crafting your CV and particularly when listing your work experience, for example. It should be able to help you tell a very brief, but absorbing tale that showcases your transferable skills, whilst at the same time getting you noticed.
Use keywords – Enhance your achievements with keywords. These are powerful descriptions of your actual achievements and are covered in more detail on an Information Page under Tips at the bottom of the Careersnearhere website. In the above example, you might say that you ‘Volunteered’ in the fund-raising event or you might have ‘Led’ the activity: both are powerful descriptions of your achievements. A recruiter may then want to invite you in to find out how you got on.
Avoid reflexive pronouns – It can be really boring to read I, I, I, I all the time. Just take a look through any piece of work that you’ve written and see how often you start a paragraph with ‘I’. Similar words to avoid if possible are ‘me’ and ‘myself’, but this may be slightly trickier. Remember your key words and you should be safe.
Write about Product-You
You’re trying to sell the idea of choosing you over all the other applicants.
Concentrate on your own achievements – Tell the employer or recruiter what you achieved and not what others did. If someone else captained your football team, talk about your teamwork and communication skills and strengths as a team-player. If you talk about the team as evidence of leadership you risk being caught out at interview. They are interested in recruiting you and it is you that they will want to hear more about. Just remember those key words from earlier.
Keep it to your own work – In addition to referencing your own personal achievements, you’ll be quoting examples of things that you have done. Just make sure that it is your work and your examples otherwise it’s called plagiarism and you risk getting caught out at interview – or even beforehand as many recruiters and even UCAS are understood to use software which can check for copied content. In the end, there’s no point because it will just come back to haunt you.
Keep it professional
It’s important to create a really good first impression.
Quote professional contact details – If necessary set up a brand new email account and record a new mobile phone answer message. Whatever happens, you do not want a silly or unprofessional message or address: it will set the wrong tone and potentially cost you the chance of an interview.
Use privacy settings on your social media pages – Employers and recruiters are increasingly checking social media pages so set everything to private. The last thing you need is them discovering potentially inappropriate content or too many party photos! If they can view it, make sure it provides them with a simple overview of the sort of person they are considering for the vacancy.
Use sensible language – Wherever possible choose standard language rather than texting abbreviations or jargon. Avoid slang words such as ‘ace’, ‘cool’ or ‘dodgy’. And choose sensible, mature words instead of text or social media terminology. It will create a much better impression and could really increase your chances of an interview.
Next time, we’ll take a look at Cover Letters and emails; what they are used for and how to structure them.
Careersnearhere.com: It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started.
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