So the time has come for you to make a move. You have decided that your current work is not quite as rewarding as you would like, or maybe you just want to browse around the market and see what other options there are. Whatever your reason, chances are that you will need to either update your CV or better yet write it from scratch.
If you are anything like most people, you will be looking forward to this task as much your cat is looking forward to getting a bath. To make things worse, there is no set template that is a one size fits all. So what exactly should you consider when writing a CV?
THE BASICS OF A CV
Be concise and factual
Firstly, it is critical that you understand what the job of a CV is, and that is to present your profile in a concise, factual, accurate and positive manner, in order to secure you an interview.
Treat it as a snapshot of your best professional attributes, not as a list of skills.
In order to achieve this balance, it is important to backup your experience with factual and tangible information. This means that you should give examples of how, when and in what context you used your skills and to what effect.
It is through such examples you will be able to effectively portrait your experience to a potential employer and prove your ability to perform a given job. This means you should support your experience with numbers, facts and examples wherever it is possible.
DO NOT LIE
Secondly, the golden rule is: don't lie. Adding a bit of a positive spin is expected but a lie is a step too far. It is very easy for a skilled interviewer to quickly establish any inconsistencies in your CV and thus put into question any experience you may be presenting.
Lying can cost you the interview and a shot at that job you are so interested in.
Make a good first impression
When writing your CV, do also consider that on average your profile will get around 10 seconds to make a good first impression.
This means that, if you do not grab the readers interest in these first crucial moments, you will simply not get a shot at an interview. It is thus very important to make sure that the critical key words for the position are on the first page and clearly visible to your reader. This is why your CV should always list your current work experience on the first page.
Your job title should also represent a degree of relevancy to the position you are applying for, and the first points that are presented need to be consistent with the desired role.
Consider what is important to the employer and make sure that it is on the first page.
This means that if languages or education are important to the potential employer then put them on top otherwise give the first page over to other more important points.
Most importantly, use common sense and don’t be lazy. There is no right or wrong CV format, but the information presented in your CV needs to be relevant and detailed enough to convince a potential employer that it is worth speaking with you.
(Image courtesy of Amy Dozier via Flickr)