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10 Steps to Make Your CV Effective

When you are applying for a new job your Curriculum Vitae is the only tool at your disposal to secure that interview. While some may say your personality, experience and professionalism cannot be neatly described and categorized within two pages, at present this is the tried and tested method being used. On average a potential employer spends about eight seconds glancing at a CV before he decides whether to place it on the rejection file or keep it for the interview list.

The following ten pointers will ensure you turn out a concise, informative, professional looking CV.

1. Summarize your career to date

Ideally a CV should be no longer than 2 A4 pages, anything more than this causes the reader to lose attention and move on. Stick to bullet points to summarize your best achievements and you can elaborate on these later at interview.

2. Make your CV specific

Before you submit your CV you should carefully read the job description and then reword your CV to specifically meet the skills set required.

3. Synopsis of your Skills Set

Never think that a potential employer will automatically correlate your skills set with their requirements, instead you should connect your specific work experience to the skills the recruiter is seeking.

4. Never omit periods of time

Most employers have an innate habit of homing in on periods unaccounted for on your CV. It is always imperative that you put something down for this period of unemployment e.g. you developed additional skills by doing charity work or you gained life perspective by traveling.

5. Update your details regularly

It is imperative that you keep your details up to date by adding any new skills or experience regularly.

6. Always spell check and proofread

Your CV should always be grammatically correct as well as being spell checked and proof read by an independent source before you submit it. Employers today are looking for any excuse to discard a CV from the large volume received so improve your chances by not giving them that option.

7. Stick to the facts

Always tell the truth because if you make up elaborate lies to improve your work or education history you will be caught out at the interview stage when you are unable to convincingly substantiate your claims.

8. Always be specific about your achievements

You should always be prepared to elaborate on your achievements and experience with facts and statistics i.e. I increased the company’s sales by 30% last quarter as opposed to I increased sales rapidly.

9. Present yourself professionally

Always take the time to work on the visual appearance of your CV, use bullet points, leave lots of white spaces to make reading your CV easier and make your sentences as short as possible.

10. Use the right keywords so that recruiters could find your CV in the database

Add your CV to the database of job boards as  this is where many employers are looking. Therefore you need to use words that will be picked up by the Internal Search engines of recruitment sites. For example, if a potential employer does an on-line search for a compliance position in a bank they might use words such as “Compliance”, “AML skills” or “anti-money laundering skills” or maybe “SOX compliance”. So you should include industry buzzwords that are relevant to your skills in your CV to be picked up for these searches.