The first step for most of us when conducting a job search is to ensure that your CV is employer ready. Whether you’re updating an old one or starting from scratch, it is essential that you get it right. Your CV is essentially your ticket into an interview so you need to seize the opportunity at the first hurdle. First and foremost you want to give an accurate representation which showcases all of your skills and experience, and secondly, you want to stand out (for all the right reasons of course).
Some job applications may also request a cover letter to be submitted alongside your CV. This may feel daunting, but it’s another chance to really prove why you’re the right person for the job, and should definitely be seen as a positive.
Job hunting can seem intense and time-consuming, but taking care of the small details when applying is certain to help you to achieve a role which you want and love.
Here is a brief guide to crafting a CV and cover letter that will help you land that dream job:
Make sure your CV is accurate and detailed
The point of a CV is that you sell yourself to your employer. This is your chance to show them that you’re the best possible candidate for the job that’s being advertised.
Your CV should essentially work it’s way down with the most relevant to the least relevant. For example, your name and contact details on the top, followed by a professional statement about you. Your work experience should then follow, and you will usually find that this takes up the most space, except of course if it’s your first ever job! Even so, your experience can range from apprenticeships, work experience or shadowing, which demonstrates that you are interested in furthering your career. It’s important that you go into detail in this section, as this will give a clear picture of your professional capability.
Your specialist skills should also be a focal point of your CV, especially if you’re applying for a skilled job. This includes any software or system knowledge that you may have. Even if a skill seems irrelevant it’s always best to be included, as you never know what details could set you above the other candidates and make you stand out!
Your education history and qualifications should also be listed, starting with the most recent. This can rage from a degree, to an online course, to your GCSE’s, but you should include all of it. You want to shout about all of your knowledge!
Any achievements and interests that you feel would be appropriate to the job you are applying for should also be included. Writing a little about yourself in a CV can give an employer a flavour of you, as a person. Make sure it is tailored to the specific job and highlights the attributes that you can bring to the new role – and don’t be afraid to slightly reword your CV to suit different jobs you are applying for.
Remember, this is only a rough guide, and your CV should be personal to you. Your final layout should essentially reflect what you and the employer will feel is the most relevant at the top and work your way down. Formality is essential and keeping the structure clear and organised is vital. You can find CV templates on various job board sites, so these can be a life-saver if you’re not sure where to start.
Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the role
A cover letter is simply the side dish to the CV entrée. It provides an opportunity to add in extra comments that you weren’t able to put in your CV. While they are normally just designed to be an introduction to your CV, it is imperative that you tailor it to the job specifications, and don’t just use a generic one for each application. Employers can usually tell!
Before writing, thoroughly go over the specifications of the job you are applying for and ensure that you are hitting every single point. Employers are looking for someone that will be able to slot straight into their organisation and a cover letter can demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job well.
Be careful not to waffle on, hit the key points and answer any questions they are posing in the job advertisement, and how it relates to your skillset or your willingness to learn. You want to generate the best chance for yourself possible, and this will help you do so before even walking through the door!