Constructing or deconstructing your CV
When it comes to CV’s it comes under the title of ‘needs to be done at some point’ and is a chore that we would rather avoid.
For graduates, your first CV is probably the most important as it is the foundation from which everything else will build. It seems a simple enough task to write down everything you have done up to now in reverse chronological order. However, if you want your CV to stand out from the crowd, you need to ask yourself ‘What is considered good practise while staying within professional boundaries?
These days your CV is generally sent to an automatic system which scans it for keywords and errors. It is a cardinal sin to make a spelling mistake on your CV and then write as a key skill ‘attention to detail’. The following are a list of key do’s and don’ts.
1. Read the job description thoroughly and tailor your CV to match it. For example, if they have listed five key person attributes, then they should be able to find these in your CV.
2. Keywords that are in the job description should also be in your CV. For example, if they ask for numeracy or special qualifications
3. Highlight your achievements outside of academics such as volunteering, team sports, musical achievements etc. These aspects of your CV tell your employer a lot about the type of person you are.
4. Think about each aspect of your CV and consider what it adds to the employer’s overall image of you. If all you describe is your academic achievements, it may give the impression that you have no life outside of work.
5. Ensure your CV projects the best version of you.
6. Make sure you get someone else to read your CV for errors and to get some feedback.
1. Lie in your CV or over embellish the truth. You will be caught out during questioning and if discrepancies are found your integrity and credibility will be called into question.
2. Give yourself elevated titles in your previous part-time roles. Such as saying you were a manager or director.
3. Write a profile paragraph at the top that says you are diligent and hard working. It does not add to your CV as it is assumed you are diligent and hard-working. Only write this paragraph if you have something to add that will not be picked up in your CV.
4. One CV does not cover all applications. Do not send out the same CV for all applications assuming it will get you through the door. It won’t.
On the plus side once you have written a good CV it is easy to tweak and change it for each application so spend time on it now and it will save you a lot of time in the future. You will appreciate it when you spot the ideal job with a short timeline to apply. If it really is all too much, you know where I am.