Curriculum vitae(CV) are an essential tool in your belt during the job search and application process – regardless of whether you are a school-leaver looking for your first job, or a seasoned professional looking for the next step in your career development, everyone should understand what makes a good resume.
Your CV is usually the first point of contact that a potential employer will have with you, and so it is imperative that when writing your CV, it reflects your skills, experience and accomplishments in an easy-to-read and engaging format.
It is surprising to note just how many job seekers don’t recognise the difference between a good resume and a great resume – and this could be the deciding factor for you in securing an interview for your dream job.
Tips on the format of writing a great resume (CV)
- The length of your CV should be no more than 3-4 pages
- It is designed to provide an overview of your skills, experience and achievements.
- Always priorities the points which most accurately match the requirements of the role you are applying for at the beginning/top of your resume, even if they are less important in terms of your current role. This way the hiring manager will be able to see what makes you a great candidate straight away without having to dig for the information.
- An effective CV should begin with a short summary of who you are. Make sure the CV is straight-forward and avoid all the subjective clichés such as ‘excellent self-starter’, ‘good team player’, ‘natural leader’ and ‘good communicator’. These qualities can be demonstrated through your tangible achievements which follow in the CV.
- Remember that your CV will form part of the script for the interviewer’s questions.
- Address time-gaps in your work history, and include clear and concise explanations for these.
- Your CV should also give some idea of your future potential. If you are presently studying for an additional qualification, say so.
Illustrate your greatest career achievements to date
When writing their resume, many job seekers make the mistake of simply listing the day to day responsibilities they have held in each role.
It is vital to illustrate how well you have carried out this work through your list of achievements and select material to reflect the requirements of the specific post. Instead, it is vital that you can demonstrate to a prospective employer your accomplishments outside of these standard tasks.
How does an achievement differ from responsibility? An achievement is a statement of how you have added value to an organization.
For example: instead of listing ‘researching and resolving accounts payable issues’, go one step further by explaining that as a direct result of your research, you were able to reduce the amount of un-paid invoices for the business by 50% and thus increase operating revenue.
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