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5 tips for writing a competition smashing CV

| Lianne Rush

With unemployment down to 3.5% at the time of writing, competition for jobs is at a level not seen since 1973. Add to that, the fact that the digital, hybrid world we now live in makes recruitment easier for employers to choose from a much greater catchment area, and the job seeker market starts to look a little grim.

On the other hand, it also opens up a whole different catchment area for you too. You no longer have to stay within your preferred travelling distance if you choose not to, employers value staff who show attitude and aptitude above skill a lot of the time now, and retraining or developing has never been easier, or more acceptable.

So let’s get you a CV that shines out against all those others, with these five tips…

1. Research, research, research

Know the industry inside and out, look at the company’s website, read their blogs, view their social media content and even think about who their competition is. The more you know about who you’re applying to, the better you can appeal to their brand, tone of voice and culture, and align yourself with the company’s values.
This all comes out in your covering letter, your personal statement and your additional information.

2. One CV doesn’t fit all

Given that you may be applying for more than one job, and that you’ve done your research, you may need to tweak the content to appeal to the different employers. If the tone of one company is very serious, whereas the other is colloquial, a single CV won’t appeal to both.

3. Be personal

Talking of personal statements, don’t be afraid to share your personal story of why you’re looking for a new job or change of direction. The finer details aren’t necessary, remember you might be one of many CVs to read through, but sharing your own values and desires for the future is important for building rapport.

4. Make it clear

Like I suggested, you may be up against lots of other applicants, so you want to make sure your CV isn’t too long-winded, in a font too small to skim-read or containing unclear headings. I would suggest 12-point font size, 14-16 for headings in a nice font like Arial or Calibri. The use of colour is a nice touch too, but don’t be tempted to go too mad or you risk it looking immature. You might consider a little subtle psychological trick and choose a colour close the company’s own brand.

5. PROOF it!

Read your CV through from top to bottom, word for word, letter for letter. Don’t read what you think you’ve written, but what is actually on the screen. It’s all too easy to miss a mistake that isn’t a spelling error but doesn’t have any business being in that sentence. Form/from is a perfect example.

If you have time, leave it for a couple of hours at least, and go back to it with a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh perspective.

If you need any more advice on writing a CV, or you need someone with industry knowhow to proof it for you, get in touch with me via LinkedIn. I’d love to have a chat with you and maybe impart some useful information.

Source: Office for National Statistics

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