Published on 14th October 2018
When it comes to applying for the job you want, having your CV looking and reading sharp can often mean the difference of securing an interview or not at all; but how do you do this you ask?
Putting together a successful CV is actually a hell of a lot easier than you think, but it’s something that even the most intelligent people with the shiniest looking careers can often get horribly wrong. I know this comes across as incredibly cliché, but it’s all about the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). Yes, you heard right. The key to creating a knock-out CV is keeping things clear, concise and not over complicating it with too many words, pages and clunky looking fonts.
Lay The Foundation & Get The Basics Right
In light of stripping this process down. Let’s talk fonts, resume templates and mapping out how you want your CV to look. I highly recommend Canva & Visual CV for basic, yet impactful templates that integrate with Google Drive and have an array of options to choose from. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to choose a font that is easy on the eye and is effortless to read. There are a whole heap of fonts that look and read nicely (it’s up to you really and what you like), but a personal favourite of mine is ‘Calibri’ in size 11. It’s a basic Microsoft font that just seems to work.
Create A Punchy Snapshot of Your Career
This is a critical piece that summarises who you are, what you’ve done and what you’re all about professionally. It’s a prime opportunity for you to really sell yourself and toot your horn in a humble way that summarises your experience, but highlights to the recruiter or line manager that they should continue reading your CV.
Tackle this important piece of the CV puzzle with a three-pronged approach and break it down into past, present & future. By doing this it’ll stop you from rambling and using the precious real estate on the first page of your CV. Remember, this is not a personal summary of your interests and it’s not a cover letter either; so you need to make sure it reflects you as a professional in your space. Try to see if you can keep it within around 150 words or three paragraphs. Keep it concise, punchy and to the point.
Flesh Out A list of Your Core Skills
The list of your core skills needs to be positioned just below your personal summary and it should round up the very best skills in your repertoire that you have THE most to offer your next employer. This section needs to include soft and technical skills, and compartmentalise them to keep the flow and rhythm of this list.
In addition, I would have the list comprise your ‘tech stack.’ Employers and recruiters alike are keen to know what your ‘stack’ is, even if you’re not in a super technical role. As an example, if you are a Digital Marketer, list out the platforms you’ve used perhaps like, Marketo, HubSpot, Google AdWords, Analytics, ScreamingFrog, and Infusionsoft etc.
Write Up The Essential Functions of Each Role
When listing out your responsibilities you’ve had in previous roles, you’ll want to make sure that you reign yourself in and include roughly eight to ten points only and try to keep them highly relevant. I recommend opening up a google or word doc and start fleshing out a comprehensive list that you can refine as you go along. If you get stuck on points for your responsibility list, then refer to your previous Position Descriptions. AND if that fails and you need some more inspiration, I would head straight over to seek.com.au and find similar roles that are being advertised and extract some of the requirements listed in the skills required section for yours.
List Your Achievements
You may think that you don’t have too many achievements to put on your CV, but I can pretty much guarantee that you would. If you’re a marketer, you would no doubt remember the impact that some of your campaigns had within the organisation you worked in from a metric perspective. As an example, an achievement might read like:
“heightened engagement by x% over a three month period on x platform, which resulted in an x% increase in revenue for the business.”
It’s recommended that you have roughly three achievements per role, as it is an excellent way of providing the context from the responsibility section of your CV.
Always remember that a well put together CV is just the very first step, you’ll need to equip yourself with the mindset to approach the interview stage with confidence, finesse and flair. These are the magical ingredients for a winning job search that will hopefully get you the job you want.
If you feel stuck on how to tackle creating a killer CV and want some assistance, do not hesitate to contact your Ambition consultant today!