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10 tips to make your CV work for you

By Tom O'Neil

Tip One

Your CV is your brochure. It must:

  • sell your skills, achievements and experience to the reader
  • highlight the key points that meet the employer’s requirements
  • be brief, but have enough information to sell you, i.e. 2-4 pages

Tip Two

Quantify your achievements and what you can offer an employer.

For example, imagine if the world’s best tennis player wrote her CV stating:

  • Occupation: Tennis Player
  • Responsibilities: Hit ball, hit ball again

This would not sell her to potential employers. It does not demonstrate the immense value and achievements that stem from this seemingly mundane activity!

Tip Three

Tailor the CV to the role! It is pointless to market yourself to an employer if you do not meet the requirements they are seeking in an employee. When a top tailor makes a suit for a client he takes measurements to ensure it will fit the client perfectly. Therefore remember to tailor your whole approach for the position you are applying for. This will significantly increase your chances of reaching the interview stage.

You want to ensure that the key aspects and keywords in the advertisement or position description are ‘mirrored’ in everything you write and say. For example, if an advertisement states that an employer is seeking an ‘honest and focused individual’, you could state that you are a ‘person with integrity who focuses on setting and achieving business goals’.

Tip Four

Cheak yoru speling! Nothing says unprofessional more than “I am always sure to ot the Is and cross the Ts” (yes, this really happened in a CV sent to me!).

Tip Five

Make it look nice. Search on the internet and seek out some cool templates but do not use too much colour or, generally speaking, images (unless they are of your work).

Tip Six

Audit your on-line and off-line messages. Check your personal voicemail message and your email address.

A poor email address can destroy any chance you have with an employer. Anything sexual (sexyboy123@hotmail), personality driven (funkyfunchick@hotmail) or stupid (just_a_mess_81@hotmail) is a NO GO!

If you want to have a fun address, make sure you also set up a work-only email so you can check this periodically during your job hunt.

Your mobile/home voicemail address must also be of high quality. Check this to ensure it is professional.

Tip Seven

Check your personal websites. Recent statistics state that 73% of employers check online sites such as Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram prior to making an employment offer.

Tip Eight

Get proactive and knock on doors (both figuratively and literally). Statistics state that less than 25 per cent of all vacancies are advertised.  This leaves the field wide open for those who are prepared to do a little more than scan the Jobs Vacant websites. Make a list of key companies you would like to work for and approach them!  

This may include firms close to where you live because many small and medium sized companies like to employ local people. Or take your pick of the top firms in your field of interest and contact them directly.

Tip Nine

Spend time and be professional and disciplined in your record keeping to avoid losing all your hard work. It is vital to know where and when you sent all your applications.

Tip Ten

Use your own personal and business networks to spread the word. Ensure your networks know that you are seeking a new position.

People trust their friends, therefore, if you are referred to an employer by a friend you come with a higher level of trust than others who walk in off the street. Networks can include schools, club, church, toastmasters, Rotary, Lions, local employers.

Good luck with your job hunt!

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