The Job Hunters - the CV
Aimee Bateman takes Dwayne through how to sell yourself on a CV
This week our Job Hunters have been tackling one of the most difficult things to get right about the job search - the CV.
As the CV is often the first thing a potential employer sees it is important to sell yourself to the best of your ability on this piece of paper. It can make the difference between getting an interview or being rejected. See it as an advert to show a potential employer what you can offer and how you can benefit their company.
And for our Job Hunters their CVs were one of the key things they had to work on, and some needed more help than others.
For 18-year-old Dwayne Landeg a lack of qualifications and no work experience means the teenager struggles to know what to put on his CV.
For 45-year-old former factory worker Tim Rees it is a different story. He has years of experience but after a recent redundancy he now needs to hunt for work in a very different job market - and he's never needed a CV before.
So we asked recruitment expert Aimee Bateman to give her own personal masterclass on how to make a CV stand out from the crowd.
She told our job hunters: "Your CV is your personal brochure, giving you a chance to show off all the attributes that make you the perfect choice for employers. These tips show you the key things you need to consider to make sure your CV shows you in the best light."
My tips would be:
For every job you apply for you could be up against hundreds of other candidates so you need to make sure you stand out. Employers don't just buy skills, they buy solutions, so show how can you make the company money and how can you resolve the problems that they have. Make sure you turn the features of your previous jobs, e.g. what you did, into benefits for the new employers.
That means talk about leadership, customer service/satisfaction/attention to detail instead of just listing what you did. If you have little work experience like Dwayne, focus on other examples of your experience. For someone like Dwayne, who volunteers, this is valid experience that should go on a CV.
Employers spend around 5 seconds scanning your CV so it needs to remain clutter-free and easy to read. The last thing a recruiter wants to do is to go hunting for the information that they are looking for so don't hide it amongst an array of elaborate graphics. Keep fonts simple and don't attach a photograph, unless specifically requested.
A CV generally includes a personal statement (a few sentences summing up your key qualities and experience), work experience, qualifications, hobbies/interests and your contact details. Make sure that every inch of the page is selling you to the employers, so use sections like hobbies and interests to show what kind of employee you will be instead of talking about your general likes and dislikes.
It may sound like a time consuming process, but making the effort to tailor your CV to suit the requirements of each particular job that you are applying for can greatly increase your chances of securing an interview. The current market means that there will be a lot of interest for each job so you really need to up your game and stand out from the crowd - this means tailoring experience, qualifications and attributes to the specific jobs you are applying for.
It's deceptively easy to make mistakes on your CV and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. As well as checking your spelling and grammar, make sure your employment dates match up and that you've provided the right phone number and email address.
When you put together a CV it's often difficult remembering the projects you have been involved with and the achievements you have made. To avoid missing important pieces of information out, revisit your CV every month adding anything of importance, and cutting any information that is no longer required.