In this economy, it would seem that the most important document right now would be your CV.
I know that it totally sucks to get your hope up when you submit your CV to many companies, thinking you’re finally going to get a response but you don’t hear from any of them at all.
Trust me, been there done that.
Because of the nature of the current economy, employers are taking precaution when it comes to new hires. I would think that they want something that stands out from the other CVs.
If you’re having trouble thinking how to update your CV or don’t know how to start writing one, then this article goes out to you jobseekers.
1. What to include in your CV
There is a usual format when it comes to writing CVs and it usually consists of the following information:
- Name and other personal details
- Executive summary
- Key skills
- Work experience
- Education and qualifications
- Miscellaneous information
So, now that you know how a CV should look like here’s a couple of tips to help you improve on it.
1. Language and Tone
Take a look at the company you’re applying for and adjust the tone (be it professional or casual) of your CV accordingly. Your potential employer will want to know if it suits the company’s branding and lifestyle.
Use active words, but don’t exaggerate or oversell yourself. Examples of active words, or power words, are “achieved”, “earned” or “accomplished.”
If you’re struggling with what words to use, here’s a very helpful link.
2. Tailor Your CV
What this means is you should customise your CV according to the company you’re applying for.
Not all jobs will have the same requirements so that’s on you to check on what they’re looking for and change it based on what they want in a candidate, which brings us to the next point.
3. Use keywords
When it comes to making sure your CV fits the bill, it’s important to note that your CV should include the relevant target keywords from wherever you’re viewing the job description.
Remember, you should read the job description carefully for keywords and add that into your CV to show your employers that you are their ideal candidate.
4. Keep your CV simple
By simple, I don’t mean “boring”, I meant using a simple black-and-white format.
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While others might want to up their CV game and go for something fancy to be attention-grabbing, it is not advisable because most companies use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) scanners as their first line of screening potential candidates and may not be able to pick up on your CV should you choose a graphics-heavy format.
“Unfortunately, most fancy resume templates are not ATS-friendly, meaning not all the details of the resume will be read by the scanner, and as a result, these candidates may be immediately rejected,” says Harry Suresh, founder and CEO of ResumeWriter Asia.
Well, now you know.
5. Be clear and concise
Let’s face it, we know trying to get someone’s attention is extremely difficult. More so if you’re doing it via a document.
Your employer doesn’t have the entire day to read any lengthy grandmother stories about your achievements.
You’ll need to stick to short sentences that contain information relevant to the job requirements.
Using bullet points is always a great way to shorten long sentences and to describe something without dragging it out.
As the old saying goes “Keep it short and sweet.” That hasn’t let anyone down before!
6. List the most important skills and work experience first
When it comes to listing down skills, you’re going to want to put them near the top of your CV. You only have a few seconds to impress your future employers on first glance.
It is also a good point to focus on hard skills instead of soft skills as they are more impactful.
The skills should also be listed from the highest value at the top to the lowest value at the bottom.
As for the experience, list your most work experience first.
But that’s not all you should write. With each job, explain and elaborate (but not down to the exact detail) on your job scope and responsibilities.
If you’re stuck with how to even begin describing them, go back to point 1 on impactful power words!
We all know the horrors when it comes to formatting. If you move a single spacing or bullet point, the entire document goes haywire and you end up looking like this:
However, formatting is still important because who would want to read a CV that’s too cluttered or inconsistent?
If you’re using bullet points, keep using them.
Another good point to note would be to include spacing between paragraphs and sections. This helps to make your CV an easy read!
8. Proofread your CV
When you’re done and satisfied with your CV, proofreading it is an absolute must.
Submitting a CV full of typos and grammatical errors won’t help and you can be sure that no employer would get back to you.
That’s why spellcheck will be your new best friend when it comes to writing a CV. That or Grammarly.
9. What NOT to include in your CV
Apart from avoiding grandmother stories, there are a couple of Don’ts you should avoid as well:
- Include things like ‘basic computer skills’ because let’s face it, almost everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word.
- Limit your CV to one page. This is important to note because this will make it seem like you don’t have the experience or skillset for the job. The crucial part is to be comprehensive. Overall, your CV should be about two to three pages long.
10. Update it regularly
If you’ve picked up a new skill or attended courses with your SkillsFuture credits, remember to add it into your CV! Especially if it’s relevant to a job you’re eyeing for.
Well, that about sums it up. Hopefully, these tips will help you get your dream job. *Fingers crossed*.
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