It is one of the most, if not the most, important tools every job seeker has in their bag of tricks. Yet it can be so difficult to know what to include, and what to omit, in your CV.
Here at Intern Avenue we often get asked the questions: what do employers want to see in a candidates CV? Do start-ups want different things to traditional corporations? Are there any tips or tricks we can suggest to our members?
Well, first things first, stay away from CV templates! It is your originality that sets you apart from the crowd, and templates make it far too easy for you to copy content as well as layout. There are plenty of different ways to make your CV stand out in 2014, such as transforming your resume into a bright and colourful infograph or turning it into a web page. Whatever method you choose, never allow your CV to run over one page. If you are fresh out of university, it is highly unlikely you have enough experience to fill any more than this. Make the information you write concise and to the point. It is also important to recognise what sort of role you are applying to, and whether the company is a start-up or a traditional employer. If you are applying to work in a start-up your personality is key and must shine through in your CV, while traditional employers tend to focus more on an individuals experience and skills.
Layout aside, there are some fundamental pieces of information that you must include in your CV:
1) Contact details – it may seem obvious, but if you don’t have all of your contact details readily available, you will not be contacted.
2) Education – this should include your grades & any projects you feel make you stand out.
3) Employment History – highlight any jobs which are applicable to the role you are applying to & focus on the information that is interesting to the employer. It is important to remember that your CV should portray what you have done in the past, and how this could be beneficial to your future employer. Avoid going into too much detail, especially for unrelated job roles.
4) Personal profile – this is probably the most daunting aspect of any CV, but it really needn’t be. It is important to make sure your personal profile is unique to you, and cannot be used to describe another applicant. Avoid generalisations and instead focus on your personal interests, highlighting any relevant achievements or experiences. Try not to go over 50 words, as employers have very little time, and use this as a snapshot of your personality and ambitions.
5) Skills & Strengths – outlining the skills you have gained from previous experience, as well as your personal strengths gives employers the chance to gain a better understanding as to whether you are suitable for a role.
So, in conclusion, you must create your CV in a clear and appealing format, making the content interesting, informative, and personal to you. Don’t waffle, and never claim to be something you are not. Focus on YOUR achievements and highlight why YOU specifically should get the job. Think outside the box, and NEVER copy the content of an online template. Show off your amazing and unique personality and let the employer know why they should want you on their team!
N.B. If you want to know more about writing a killer CV, our very own Naoise Muldoon will be discussing the matter on a panel of experts this Friday at NACUE’s Start-up Career Launchpad in London. We will also have a stand where we will be available to answer any questions you have regarding job hunting throughout and after university!