Your CV is one of your biggest opportunities to make a great impression and sell yourself to prospective employers. So how can you showcase your skills and position yourself as a strong candidate?
Tell the employer what they want to hear
One of the most important things you can do when writing your CV is to make sure you tailor it to the needs of the job role or the company.
Make sure your CV focuses on the skills and experience that are most relevant for the position you’re applying for. Refer back to the duties and candidate specification listed in the job vacancy and include all of them (or as many as you can) in your CV.
If you’re experienced in a number of different areas, consider creating separate CVs for each to avoid diluting the key information. Or if you have transferable skills from a different area, be sure to communicate this clearly - don’t assume that the hiring manager will know that the skills are relevant.
Show what you can achieve (and prove it)
When it comes to your employment history, don’t just provide a list of tasks and responsibilities under each heading. Instead, find relevant examples of great performance that demonstrate your capabilities and how you added value to the company.
To make sure you don’t miss out any of your best achievements, you might even want to include an ‘accomplishments’ section. Just be sure to back up your claims with evidence and results wherever possible. This evidence might be a statistic (such as increased sales performance by 20%) or any relevant non-numeric result (such as being instrumental in a successful project launch).
Speak their language
Every industry or job role will have its own terminology (words, phrases, acronyms) that you will be expected to know and understand. Be sure to use correct industry specific language in your CV and covering letter to demonstrate your knowledge of the sector.
While you probably are results oriented, hardworking and have strong communication skills, try to avoid these cliches as much as possible. Give specific examples of each instead to demonstrate these qualities rather than just describing them.
It may seem obvious, but honesty really is the best policy. It can be tempting to stretch the truth to make you sound like a stronger candidate, but if you overstate your skills, you will just be found out later during the interview (or even worse, you might end up with a job you can’t do!).
For more tips and tricks on strengthening your CV, see our previous articles here. Or if you’re looking to take the next step in your career, apply for one of our current vacancies, or email a copy of your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.