Although networking and LinkedIn continue to challenge traditional ways of finding work, the CV still remains a crucial document for any individual searching for work – one that has potential to say so much, or so little, when it reaches the right person’s desk.
Fiona Jackson is a Careers Consultant at the OA with extensive HR experience in both the commercial and not for profit sectors. Here are her top tips for getting your CV job-ready.
Top CV tips
- Don’t include too much personal information on your CV (marital status, age, children, etc.). As well as not being relevant, there is a danger a candidate could be putting themselves at a disadvantage.
- Know your reader – be careful that the traits and characteristics you think are desirable are actually wanted. For example – ‘meticulous attention to detail could sound ‘jobsworthy’ in some contexts.
- If you write that you have outstanding communication skills, make sure your CV reflects this. Any spelling or grammatical errors will result in immediate rejection.
- Use active, rather than passive verbs. It can be a subtle difference but ‘managed’ sounds as though you’ve taken ownership, in comparison to ‘responsible for’.
- The CV is not the time to write your memoirs – stick to two pages, as it could appear arrogant to assume people have the time to read more.
- Don’t make your CV difficult to read by squeezing too much on to two pages.
- Be careful with hobbies or interests that could be emotive or sensitive topics for people – for example, deer stalking or shooting.
- Avoid subjective words such as ‘dynamic’.
- Don’t put everything from the past ten years down in detail – list only relevant skills or courses for the job.
- Leave out quotes from people you have worked with that could be meaningless out of context.
- Do not use inappropriate or unprofessional-sounding email addresses.
- Keep your CV chronological.
If you’re a commissioned officer transitioning from the Armed Forces, and would like independent expert advice on your transition (including CV’s), you can book a one-to-one consultation with one of our expert Career Consultants in London, Bristol, Leeds or Portsmouth. Simply call 0117 906 3580 or register online.