Why is writing a CV so difficult?
You have spent years studying and working, spent time developing your blog, establishing social proof and gaining relevant, useful connections, yet when it comes to showing this expertise on your CV you draw a blank.
How can you make all your hard work and personal brand transfer to your CV and get that all important break for your dream career?
Crafting a killer CV is integral when it comes to standing out in the ever-increasingly competitive job field, and it’s time to start thinking outside of the box!
There are a few basic guidelines you need to remember when developing your CV, whether you are going down the traditional route or going for a slightly more creative option:
- Keep it uncluttered and concise
- Ensure there are no grammar or spelling errors
- Don’t lie! ( Or over-embelish!)
- Keep it up to date- add new experience/ qualifications at the time
- Keep it to two pages or under
- Prioritise achievements over responsibilities in your past experience
- Don’t include irrelevant experience or information
- Tailor your CV to the specific job role you are applying for
Whatever format your CV takes, these rules of thumb should never be forgotten. I would recommend compiling information about all your experience, interests and qualifications initially, then when you apply for specific job roles, chop out the irrelevant stuff leaving it a concise representation of why you are perfect for that role.
Now, in certain industries, sticking to a plain document is not going to make you stand out from the crowd. Applying for a job in a creative or technical industry? With so many mediums available now, there is really no excuse for sending a dull templated CV. Check out these great CV options and get your creative juices going!
Video is a great way to convey your personality whilst showing your skills and qualifications. If you are creative with your video this can be a perfect way to ensure you are top of the interview list. There are two methods you can take:
1) A more formal presentation of your CV featuring yourself.
This is a great example of being creative yet remaining professional.
2) Videos that feature your information but in a more creative fashion.
This is great for really creative industries, or instances when you want to show off your movie making skills.
Many computers now come equipped with video software, with iMovie and Windows movie maker being the most common. Simply enlist the help of family, friends, a tripod or just your creative skillsand create a film that will really make your application stand out.
An audio CV is a great way to not only give potential employers an insight into your personality, qualifications and experience, but also show your recording skills. This is especially worthwhile considering in industries when technical recording will be a big part of your job.
It is important to make your audio CV interesting to listen to; please don’t simply reel off a monotone list of your qualifications! Audio doesn’t offer the visual interests of video, so you need to make sure your recording will hold your potential employers attention. If needs be, you can always send an accompanying document with any additional info; focus on letting your creative juices flow during the recording!
Including sound effects and music can make you audio a much more interesting listen whilst showing off your recording skills.
Presentations might not seem like an ideal way to send your CV, you want to talk through a presentation right?
Well, for many, ploughing through a dense block page of text can seem like a chore. If you have the misfortune of your CV being at the bottom of a very very big stack you can guarantee that a generic CV will not unglaze a potentially tired and bored recruiters eyes.
Concise, eye catching and interesting slides can elevate your CV to the next level. Presentations are a commonly used professional tool and showing your competency with this medium from the earliest stage can be an implicit indication of your skills.Try a site like SlideShare that allows you to upload your presentations and share your slides online.
In the current business environment, it is more common to be asked to email a CV than send one through the post. Why not take advantage of this instantaneous access that you know your potential employer has and include an online CV/blog in your email signature?
Snag your domain name and turn this into not only a blog and showcase of your skills, but also an online CV. Have a dedication page detailing your experience, qualifications and skills and direct employers here when applying for jobs. Not only will they see you CV but also tangible examples of your knowledge through your blog posts.
Alternatively, there are websites available that enable you to create a simplistic online profile. Not so much a CV, these sites can be a great way to amalgamate links to all of your social media profiles, website, infographic CV and more. About.me is a great way to do this, using a simple page to convey a general sense of your personality and give potential employers a portal through which they can explore more about you.
Infographics are data visualisations are an excellent and eye-catching way to convey lots of information in a much more comprehensible manner that a block of dense text and statistics. These transfer excellently to CVs, creating a uniquely appealing representation of your skill set and experience.
Infographics look complex and daunting to create, yet there are lots of tools now available online to make this process much simpler. Here are some of the best sites that will create an infographic from your LinkedIn profile or develop one from your just your CV, so take your pick!
I know I stated that the classic document could be a bit dull, but for many industries this is still the expected format when applying for jobs.
This doesn’t mean that your CV has to be boring! Here are some tips to make your written CV stand out:
An inconsistent layout, font type or punctuation will leap out straight away at a potential employer. This indicates sloppiness and inattention to detail so make sure you have this right.
Include a personal statement that not only conveys your skills and suitability but also your individuality. Inject some personality into your skills and interests section as well. The benefits that all of these unique types of CVs have is that they can convey your identity as well as your experience and qualifications. Don’t let this go just because your are sticking to a traditional format.
Make you’re CV look attractive. Don’t stick to a tradition word template and font. Make sure you CV is readable and clean but not dull. Segregating sections, making use of bold and italics and ensure there is white space, not crammed up tiny text. Be harsh, if you CV looks too full delete and condense; remember, you only need to include information relevant to the role you are applying for.
As a general rule of thumb, it is often advised to stick to no more than two pages for your CV. If you run over or under this slightly don’t panic, but try and stay as close to this guideline as possible. The last thing you want is for a recruiter to get bored reading an overly long and irrelevant CV.
What not to Do!
This series of hilarious marketing videos for online job site is a great example into what NOT to do when developing your CV, enjoy!