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Why Your CV Or Resume Is So Important?

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Many candidates simply dig out an old CV and send it off without even re-reading it. This is the best way to make sure you don’t get an interview.

Some go as far as to review it and make a few tweaks. This increases their chances.

But the most successful candidates invest a little time in making sure their CV demonstrates clearly why they’re the ideal applicant for that specific job.

Tailoring Your CV

You might think that tailoring your CV for each application will take ages, but it doesn’t need to take much more than an hour, once you’ve done your preparation.

Also, if you decided in Step One that you’re only going to apply for jobs you actually want, then you’ll be freeing up time you’d have previously used in wasted applications.

So why’s it important to tailor your CV?

Well, your average recruiter will keep all the CVs in a pile and review them in one go. They might have fifty or more to assess. You’ll be lucky if your CV gets read for even thirty seconds, before they make the “yes”, “no” or “maybe” decision. Sometimes this even happens when the recruiter’s at home, watching TV. Only the “yes” and “maybe” pile will get read in more detail. The “no” pile is usually the largest. So you need to make sure your CV really jumps out at them, but without using funky fonts and pretty colours.

A CV that gets an interview has a spark that makes them want to find out more. It demonstrates clearly why you’re a suitable candidate and gives you a head start over other candidates, before they even meet you.

Why Your CV Or Resume Is So Important?

The first step in tailoring your CV is actually to review you current CV – and to be completely ruthless. What kind of first impression does it make? What’s good about it? Does it have any weaker points? Realistically, would you offer someone an interview, based on that CV?

Once you know where you’re starting from, you can begin to create an even more compelling CV that maximises your chances of getting a job interview.

What Do You Want To Do?

Once you’ve decided you do want to move, the next stage is to think as objectively as possible about what you want.

What motivates you? What would a job have to offer you to make you want to jump out of bed in the morning to do it? Or, if that seems unrealistic to you, what would make you at least look forward to going to work?

Start making a really detailed list about what inspires you about your work (if anything!) and what’s important to you about your career. Try to prioritise the list. Is there anything that’s non-negotiable? Don’t apply for any job that doesn’t meet your essential criteria, or it’s unlikely you’ll be happy doing it.

Your Unique Advantage

One of the things you can do to make your CV stand out is think about your unique advantage.

    • What is you offer that other candidates don’t?
  • Why should they call you for interview?

Then you can get down to the nitty gritty of writing the content of your CV.

When you understand your unique advantage, it will shine though in every line you write and every example you give in interview.

Tailoring Made Easy

The easiest way to write a tailored CV is to have a master CV that contains everything.

That way, when you need to send off a job application, it’s relatively quick to pick the relevant parts of your work experience and responsibilities. The information and the wording is already done. It’s unlikely you’ll ever send off your full, master CV because it’s probably going to be too long, but it makes tailoring so much quicker.

Watch Out For Common Mistakes

Once you’ve picked the relevant content for your CV, that’s when you vet it for common problems, mistakes and clichés.

For example, employers don’t want to read about yet another person claiming to be a “team player” or “excellent communicator”. They want to see evidence.

Or maybe your career history’s a bit lacking. Maybe you don’t have the exact experience they’re looking for? Or maybe you’ve had difficulties such as being made redundant or long-term illness. There are useful ways to deal with these on your CV, rather than covering them up.

Another common mistake, that can lead to even a strong applicant’s CV heading for the recycling bin, is poor spelling and grammar. Make sure you’ve used your spell-checker and, if necessary, get someone else to proof-read your grammar.

And Finally…

Review your CV to make sure it’s easy to read.

Check the layout, to make sure it’s easy to scan. Is your formatting consistent? Make sure you’ve thought about what to include and what to miss out.

By the time you’ve finished all this, you’ll have a fantastic 2-3 page CV that will show your spark and explain clearly why you’re suitable for the job. This will maximise your chances of getting a job interview.