The 4 secrets of successful CVs
CV writing is not an exact science and opinion as to what works and what doesn’t will vary from source to source. However, some basic principles of the art of CV writing are true no matter what.
Curriculum Vitae is Latin for ‘the story of one’s life’, but this document should really be the exact opposite.
It must be a sales brochure for your transferable and relevant talent, rather than telling the recruiter everything that you’ve ever done. If it had a mission statement, it would simply be ‘to raise interest and win an interview’.
Keep in mind you need to beat the competition with your CV. For instance, 15,000 people recently applied to Virgin’s train driver advert, but the company only had 78 vacancies. So, if you want to make sure your CV helps you overcome your rivals, read on for the seven secrets of successful CVs.
First impressions count for a lot. The appearance of your CV should demonstrate the care and time you’ve spent crafting it.
It’s important to use an easy to read font that looks good on screen or printed out—typically Arial or Helvetica work well. The spacing between sections also needs to be equal and neat.
If you’re unsure of how to lay out a CV, these CV examples will give you some useful ideas. Employers and recruitment agencies are very busy and prefer an easy to read CV. Make sure that yours looks good, so it isn’t rejected straight away!
2. Keep it relevant
Target your CV for the job that you’re applying for. Consider the skills you’re selling, and make sure these link up with the job description.
The opening statement, normally called the profile, is your prime selling space at the top of page one. This must be 100% relevant to the recruiter’s needs and should underline your suitability for the job you’re applying for.
Make sure that your CV includes everything the job advert asks for—that way, you’ll boost your chances of getting an interview!
3. Use compelling language
Always treat your CV as a sales brochure for your transferable and industry-specific skills. Pack it full of powerful and positive language—it will make a big difference to the reader.
Be positive about everything you write and begin each bullet point with a verb—for example, ‘completed sales calls’ sounds a lot better than ‘my duties involved sales calls’. By using a verb such as ‘completed’, the recruiter gets a clearer picture of your skills, leaving you in a stronger position.
A professional CV writing service can write you a persuasive CV that grabs the recruiter’s attention and makes you a more attractive applicant.
4. Keep it short and to the point
The person reading your CV is likely to be busy, so keep your CV to two pages. That gives you enough room to demonstrate your potential, while you won’t run the risk of turning the recruiter off with pages and pages of material!
The recruiter might make a subconscious decision on whether to interview or reject before the bottom of the first page. Whatever they read next will consolidate and confirm their initial impressions.