man lifting weights in shape

Posted 12.01.18

Was your New Year’s Resolution to join the gym this New Year? Why stop there? Why not get your CV into shape too?

Think of your CV as an atlas, a roadmap of your skills, experience and just as importantly, your personality.

After all, Curriculum Vitae literally translated is “direction of life”. #WeLoveFacts

When applying for that dream job, your CV is your first impression – so it needs to stand out.

A well-written CV will be something that paints a picture of you, detailing your achievements and future aspirations to get you that all-important interview.

So then, let’s break out those sweatbands and yoga pants and get that CV into shape!

Here’s the routine we recommend:

The Warm Up

It’s time to perfect that opening statement.

The employer probably isn’t bothered about where you live, how old you are or what school you went to. What they do care about is how well suited you are to the job you’re applying for. Try to create a brief sketch of yourself that positions you at the right level so that straight away the employer can see you’re a relevant candidate for the job.

You have 10 seconds to impress the reader, sell yourself using positive language that emphasizes your key skills.

Strength Training

Think about what strengths you need to emphasize. If you’ve just finished university, you might want to highlight your knowledge and education, if you’re looking to change career, it might be the transferable skills you’ve amassed over the years?

You’re looking to build a story of your career in which the strongest, most recent experience has priority and the rest of the story goes back in time without repeating the minor roles over and over.

Core Workout

Now then, it’s time to work on that core. Here’re some tips to make sure the core of your CV is fighting fit!

  • Demonstrate your experience and achievements. Lead with them and use active verbs and positive language.

  • Short snappy sentences are easy to read and grab attention – so make sure your bullet point.

  • Include information that is consistent with the role you are applying for. If this role is a graphic designer, you don’t need to mention that you worked in a pub ten years ago.

  • Remove the personalisation such as “I”, “my”, “our” and “we” and write like a journalist in your approach.

  • Dates and employment should be easily found and consistent.

  • Include awards or recognition received for work well done, together with professional memberships and relevant training.

  • Ensure every line sells you at your best.

  • Prioritise relevant content.

  • Take ownership and use words such as determined, implemented, created, devised, coordinated and conceived.

  • Include figures like the number of staff you managed or budget size and achievements against targets or budgets.

  • Focus on what you have to offer the employer rather than listing what you have done.

The Warm Down

The really, really important stuff to demonstrate is how perfect you are for the role. But what about the business? Most companies won’t hire candidates that won’t fit in with their teams or culture, no matter how well they could do the job.

Consider including a short section on your hobbies and interests and make your CV interesting to look at with some simple graphics content. Let the employer see who you are, not just what you can do.

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