Having an appealing CV probably hasn’t been a major consideration until now but it is important thing to consider. Graduates normally feel uncertain about what to include, what to spice up and what to play down in the CV? Sarah Berry, best-selling author of ‘Write a Perfect CV in a Weekend’ says, ‘Graduates need to make use of what they have got and give their CV a fresh, vibrant and attractive look’.
What is an appealing CV?
An appealing CV:
- Attracts attention
- Requires a second look
- Excites the reader enough to want to see you.
An appealing CV works for you because it will get you an interview. It also forms the basis of positive discussions at the interview because it highlights your achievements and promotes your skills in a positive and professional way.
However, in spite of the genuine acceptance and acknowledgement of the importance of the CV, most are a complete ‘turn off’ for employers. Why? Because the CV has the appearance of being ‘churned out’ from a computer and it shows no sign of originality, creativity, potential, drive or personality.
How to give your CV some ‘appeal’
Focus on your employer. Most CVs fall into the trap of being too self-orientated. Yes, the CV is about you but there is no reason to go over the top. Your CV needs to demonstrate your potential and value to the employer.
Give your CV some “personality”. The employer wants to get to know you so avoid sounding like a machine. You can show that you are skilled and intelligent in your CV so don’t resort to a lazy, brief and boring profile section. Instead focus on what is special about you. How are you going to have a positive impact on the employees around you? Avoid listing your personal qualities and really demonstrate what positive contribution your personality can make.
Ensure your CV is “slim”. Employers don’t have the time to read long CVs. You have twenty seconds to attract your employer’s attention so again you have to be direct and clever. Show your writing skills and never express in ten words what can be said in three. Two pages is an ideal length, three pages is a bit boastful.
Choose the employer you fancy and then move in.Everyone wants to be liked so choose whom you wish to work for. Targeting is key to writing a first class CV. The truth is you’ll never be able to write a highly effective CV if it isn’t targeted towards the job in question. Employers want to see that you have a clear idea of what you want, what you can do and what you’ve previously done. Focus on what you can offer the employer and above all focus on what value you will add to the organisation.
Make it easy for the reader to “spot” your talents. Be clear about what you are offering the employer. Employers want to see quickly what you are offering the organisation. Have you sold all of your key skills and capabilities?
“Excite” your reader. Your CV must go below surface level. Show how your skills will add value to the organisation.
Demonstrate your level of “experience and expertise”.Employers ask for credentials and experience in order to ensure that you are right for the job on offer. Promote your experience to date and clearly highlight your measurable achievements and conquests.
Be “safe”. Employers want staff who can be relied upon and can follow instructions. Ensure that your CV is accurate and complies with the requests of the advertisement. If it doesn’t you may be viewed as someone who is prone to error, difficult to manage and difficult to satisfy.
Avoid over-emphasising your “past”. Your CV must focus on the job on offer and this employer. Highlight how your degree will help you to achieve within the role. How will you make a difference to this organisation?
Emphasise “technique” rather than “size”. Refer to what you have achieved within your degree course and holiday jobs rather than what you are looking for in terms of salary, perks and bonus.
“The worst part of losing a job over a weak CV,” says Sarah Berry, “is that it is the one aspect of your job search over which you have complete control. If it fails to show you off in the best light – you are doing yourself a grave disservice.
If you are unsure how good your current CV really is, then get it professionally assessed by Career Consultants or if you want the ‘perfect CV’ follow the steps laid out in Sarah’s book ‘Write a perfect CV’.
BY: Sarah Berry