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How to craft your CV: part 1

Landing your dream job requires a good CV. So how do you go about writing the best possible CV? In this article I will look at one expert’s ideas on how to achieve your objectives, and in the next article I will grant you the benefits of my own experience.

It can be tough to even get your CV past the initial stage, and it can be hard to make yours stand out in an over-saturated jobs market.

So to help you with that career change, we’ve put together a guide with some of the best tips that you can use to build a winning CV – and the essentials you will need to clinch the deal.

1. Understand your audience

Louise Goodman, Marketing Director at jobs website monster, says your CV is your “personal marketing campaign” which “must make the reader believe you’re a worthwhile product”.

Employers will generally have the same objectives and they will look for candidates to help them achieve these, such as profit, market share, business development or creating new products for customers and will look for candidates who help them achieve these objectives.

Regardless of your experience, Louise advises candidates to use the CV to show what you have done and that you have the potential to bring it to the table

2. Highlight your achievements
The advice here is to show concrete evidence of your achievements, such as percentage increases in sales, or show how the influence you had on a project made a major impact.

Louise says statements such “used new sales channels to increase market share beyond the UK, resulting in a 25% increase in turnover” suggests you used creativity, initiative and drive to reach a certain goal.

Try and pick at least one specific example per job you you’ve held and explain briefly how it improved the business. Remember, the CV is designed only to get you the interview, not the job, so don’t delve into too much detail.

And don’t underestimate what you achieved – instead of saying you were “ordering stationery”, say you were “responsible for ensuring the company had the necessary resources to operate efficiently” and remember to keep examples relevant and significant.

3. Avoid alienation
Most of us hate clichés and the business world is no exception.

So do your reader a favour and avoid clangers such as team player, project management skills, results orientated, people management skills or good communicator.

Think about it – would anyone claim to be the opposite of a team player? Good communication merely suggests that you can talk with other people, while project management skills just imply you are organised.

Oh, and be wary about using abbreviations since the first person looking at your CV is likely to be from the HR team.

4. Identify transferable skills

Transferable skills are the order of the day here, and there are countless ones which can be used for any number of jobs in different companies.

Bear in mind that although an employer may not need your skills on a certain IT package, they may be impressed that you have the ability to pick up new software quickly.

5. Explain gaps in your CV
There are many reasons why your CV may have gaps and recruiters don’t look down on candidates with them, but make sure they are explained in a positive manner because employers can be suspicious when these are not clarified.

For example if it was because of an extended holiday, say how your break helped develop in areas such as communication and organisational skills, plus any languages you may have picked up.

There is no need to go into detail for things like family issues while if there was nothing in the market for you, you could suggest you were waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

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