People often ask me “How do I write a CV”? And I reply: “How much work would you put into creating a one or two page document if your life depended on it?”
And quite often people are aghast at that answer but what is a CV for? It is to get you a job so that you can keep the roof over your head, pay your bills, buy your food and clothes and provide for your children, if you have them, so when I put it like that, they understand what I mean.
So I am very perplexed to come across CVs, quite often written by well educated professionals, riddled with mistakes and errors, missing essential information, hard to read and sometimes impenetrable, sometimes too long – I have seen 20 page CVs in the past or too short, half a page. Really?
Once you realise that potentially your life depends on how good your CV is, and you have that at the forefront of your mind, then you will focus on writing a good CV that sells you to a potential employer, who might just invite you to a job interview, if they think that you’ve put enough effort into writing the CV in the first place.
Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. If you have a pile of CVs in front of you and you need to whittle them down to a few that you think are worthy of your time interviewing them, which ones are you going to throw in the bin? The CVs that look appealing to the eye, with well sign-posted sections in the right places with the information you are looking for? Or the CVs that look like whoever wrote them, cobbled them together in half an hour on their way to do something they thought was more important, like this bloke below?
Employers aren’t stupid and when they are spending time and money on recruiting people to work for them, they are going to go through your CV forensically with a fine tooth-comb, looking for errors or inconsistencies that will rule you out of the competition. And it is a competition.
So you need to do your research first, just like everything else, research is your first port of call. There is a wealth of information out there on how to write a good CV, not least of all on my own website where I have several blogs about writing CVs, writing cover letters and preparing for job interviews - www.cvguru.co.uk/blog.
But you need to decide what is good advice and what is not and then follow your instincts as there is no rule-book on how to write a good CV, it’s mostly common sense.
The one thing that writing a CV is, is that it is a marketing exercise and you are selling a product and that product is YOU! You need to decide what are your features and what are the benefits to an employer should they decide to employ you. Also what is your USP, your unique selling point? What is different about you? If there’s nothing different about you and your CV looks like everyone else’s, then why should an employer invite you for interview or decide to employ you?
And if you don’t think you have the skills to create a CV, then why not spend a little money on getting a professional CV writer to write your CV, or re-write your CV for you? After all, how much is a CV worth to you, if your life depends on it? For more information on writing a good CV go to my other blog post: 'Writing a Good CV'.
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