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CV and resume writing - How to do it right and what mistakes should be avoided

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Regardless of your reasons for seeking a new role the first thing you need to do is make sure that your CV is in order. A well written and formatted resume is your first opportunity to catch the recruiters eye, and make yourself stand out.

So what is most important when producing an eye catching CV and what mistakes should you avoid?

Does your CV represent your full experience?

If you have been promoted from within at your current organisation there is a high chance that you haven’t updated your CV for a while. So it may seem an obvious suggestion but make sure that you have included your most recent experience.

And even if you haven’t actually changed job title there is still a high chance that you have gained new experience since you last applied for a new position.

Whether you’ve had to learn stakeholder management strategies or implemented new processes in your team don’t be shy in making the most of “soft skills” that you have developed in your current position. And rather than just stating your role and responsibilities, demonstrate in your CV how you had a positive impact on your department or organisation, such as increasing productivity in your team.

Tailor your CV to the exact role you are going for

It’s likely you’ve built up a range of skills during your career. However, not all of it will be of interest to an employer who has to wade through countless CVs in order to select the top candidates to interview. They will be looking for someone whose experience matches the needs of the position.

Make sure you concisely address the requirements of the job specification, ideally in bullet points, so the recruiter will quickly and easily see you have the relevant experience. This will ensure your CV lands top of the pile of potential interviewees.

Make sure your CV is well formatted and error free

CV formatting has changed a lot over the years, so if your resume hasn’t been updated in a while the layout may need a spruce up as well as your recent job experience.

While you want to include as much information as possible you don’t want your CV to look cluttered, making it difficult for employers to discover why you are the best man or woman for the job.

Ensure your CV is no more than two pages long, and as stated above, try and stick to bullet points which highlight your relevant experience.

Also, make sure you get a second pair of eyes to have a look over the document. When you’ve been slaving a way over a lap top getting the formatting perfected it can mean you miss a careless typo or spelling mistake. A recent study found, that two thirds of job applications included at least one spelling error. This makes you look unprofessional and may suggest that you’re not taking the process seriously.

Getting a friend or family member to take a look will ensure that any formatting issues or grammatical errors are picked up before that all important employer scrutinises your CV. Even spell check won’t pick up if you’ve written “world” instead of “word”.

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