How to create a CV that punches above the competition
This is the third in a series of articles for young people aged 18-24 starting their careers after leaving full time education. The full series can be found at monarchpersonnel.com.
For anyone coming out of full time education, getting past the CV stage of a job application is more difficult than at any other point of a career. This is due to lack of relatable experience and vast competition.
Your CV is usually the first touchpoint with a potential employer. It needs to have impact, and quickly, making you stand out from all other applicants. According to Undercover Recruiter, the average time recruiters take to decide if a CV is worth reading properly is 5-7 seconds. Not long then!
Overwhelmed? Fear not! There are steps you can take to create a CV that knocks the socks off employers and leaves the competition eating your dust. Too much? OK, we’ll move on to the list of dos and don’ts.
Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for
Don’t send the same CV for different applications. Instead, tailor it to focus on the experience, traits and skills that are required for the role.
Stir interest with an attention-grabbing opening statement
A short opening paragraph (not your life story) will draw recruiters into your world. Make them want to learn more. Tell them why you want the job, and include personal achievements. Tailor the statement to the vacancy and company to make it relevant. Recruiters hate waffle and can spot it in an instant!
Focus on results rather than experience
You’ve just left college or university, so your level of experience will naturally be limited. Recruiters will expect this, so don’t dwell on demonstrating direct experience pertaining to the role. Instead, show you are results-focussed by drawing on the experiences of part-time jobs and other aspects of your life such as volunteering, sports and other achievements and activities.
Use the job description as your guide
Read the job description carefully. Pick out words that describe you and your experience to date. Use comparable terminology to refer to these in your CV, and adopt a similar tone of voice.
Consider the email address you use to send an application
Undercover Recruiter report that 76% of CVs are ignored if the email address used is unprofessional. If, for example, your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org you may not be considered a serious candidate!
Don’t spoil great CV content with silly errors
Remember basic housekeeping!
- Grammar check your CV
- Spell check it
- Sense check what you’re saying
- Don’t use fancy formatting
Focus on the quality of the content rather thank how aesthetically pleasing it is. For 59% of recruiters, one spelling or grammar mistake will ensure your CV is filed under ‘bin’, particularly if you’ve claimed great attention to detail as one of your outstanding attributes (sigh!).
References from tutors
Ask your tutor(s) to provide a reference. References should be from people who know you well, and can validate your work ethic and capabilities. The fact that your tutor is from education, not employment, is irrelevant as they can vouch for you being a good fit for a new company.
Look out for our next article in this series, to be published later this week. We will be looking at how to write a great covering letter that opens doors to opportunity.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Monarch Personnel, you can read our latest articles by subscribing to our newsletter . You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, or visit our website www.monarchpersonnel.com.