IF you’re thinking about changing jobs this year, the first step is to make sure you’ve nailed the perfect CV.
It’s the first thing a recruiter looks at so we’ve put together a guide on how to make sure it’s in top shape.
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, for example if you’ve just graduated or are moving industries, it’s important to make sure your CV stands out from the crowd.
Keeping some useful tips in mind, such as keeping your CV to one page or using keywords, can help you to get noticed.
And if it’s formatting or grammar you need help with, there are also a whole host of tools out there to assist you.
We’ve spoken to careers experts to find out their tips for putting together a top CV in different stages of your career.
Looking to change job roles
Even though you may enjoy the industry you’re working in, you may be looking for a new challenge or role.
So it’s important to talk about you’re successful achievements in your current or previous job roles.
If possible try and use numbers – for example if you increased sales by a certain percentage or saved a certain amount of money by streamlining, suggests Sinead Bunting, vice president of marketing at jobs site Monster.
She said: “Try to pick at least one specific example per job you’ve held and explain briefly how it improved the business.”
Looking to change industries
If you’re considering a career change to a different industry, you may think parts of your CV might not be relevant.
For example a traditional CV usually focuses on your recent job history.
But if you’re transitioning into a new industry you might want to go for a functional CV that demonstrates your transferable skills.
To create a functional CV, Joe Wiggins, careers trends analyst at job review site Glassdoor, advises you to “prominently feature your professional summary, your skills, and a work experience section organised by how closely the positions relate to the one you’re applying to”.
What to use to help you write your CV
HERE are some tools and apps that can help you put together your CV:
- Resume app: If you struggle formatting your CV, you can choose from 21 templates in the Resume app to help you. And once you’ve put it together, you can export it as a PDF directly to your email. Resume is free to download and use, but has additonal premimum options that you can pay for.
- Grammarly: It’s important to get your spelling and grammar accurate, so run your CV through a tool such as Grammarly to check for any errors. It’s free to download straight to your desktop.
- Vizualize.me: If you’ve got an exisiting LinkedIn account, Vizualize.me takes the data and turns it into a timeline of your employment history and a breakdown of your skills. The free tool has six different themes so it’s a good option to make your CV look visually appealing as well.
- VisualCV: As well as making your CV look eye catching, VisualCV also makes sure it can be read by electronic systems that some recruiters use to filter CVs. It’s also free to sign up.
- Google Docs: Google Docs is completely free to use and offers a range of downloadable CV templates for you to choose from.
How to make up for a lack of work experience
If you’ve just left education or are a new graduate, you may be wondering what experience to put on your CV.
While it’s important to list your academic achievements, employers also want to see that you have skills useful to the workplace.
So even small tasks you’ve completed during a few days of work experience can be useful – it just depends on how you phrase them.
For example, Ms Bunting reminds job hunters not to undervalue their skills.
She said: “Don’t just say you were “ordering stationery”, say you were “responsible for ensuring the company had the necessary resources to operate efficiently”.
She added: “Always keep examples relevant to the role you are applying for.”
How to make gaps in your CV look better
It’s important for recruiters to know that you’re reliable, but you shouldn’t worry if you’ve got gaps in your CV.
There could be a whole host of reasons for these gaps so you just have to make sure when asked about them, that you can explain them in a positive manner.
For example, if you’ve been travelling, Ms Bunting suggests mentioning skills or languages you picked up along the way.
Or if it’s for a more personal reason she says you don’t have to go into detail but “a three or four word description is enough”.
But it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t lie on your CV, stresses Lee Biggins, founder of job-finding website CV-Library.
He said: “At times it can feel like you need to fib or exaggerate the truth in order to make yourself look more qualified, but if you get caught out, this could damage your chances of landing a job.”
If you’re thinking about asking for a pay rise, we’ve also spoken to recruitment experts about how to approach the tricky subject with your boss.
Meanwhile, the deadline for completing your self-assessment tax return online is fast approaching.
Take a look at our guide of how to fill in your form and get it sorted in time for the January 31 deadline.
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