Ambitious people are always looking for chances to make an impact, especially on day one in a new workplace. This could be a part-time job to earn some extra cash or an important internship that’s your first step onto the career lattice. Read on for some seemingly small things that will increase your chances of flourishing in your new role.
Ask for advice
Don’t be afraid to seek advice- most universities, colleges and job centres have careers advisors that can assist you in creating your CV. If you’re struggling, pay them a visit.
Stay away from generic buzzwords and dull, commonly used phrases such as ‘hard working’, ‘motivated’, ‘punctual’. Instead, evidence your skills with examples from your career history. If possible, try mirroring or borrowing the language of the job description to help establish a natural connection with the employer.
Don’t be vague
Avoid negative and ambiguous words and phrases such as ‘I have basic knowledge in…’ or ‘ I was required to perform various tasks …’ Be more positive, specific, assertive and confident in your skills.
Don’t limit your experience to the paid jobs you have done but spice it up with any other activities you have done – charitable activities, volunteering, sporting activities, club and society memberships, travelling abroad, competitions and college/university projects.
Use relevant keywords to allow your CV found in searches on applicant tracking systems, job boards and social media profiles such as LinkedIn. Recruiters use these systems to filter out applications, and using keywords increase chances of your CV coming before a real human being. These could include professional or industry qualifications, systems used, technical processes or unique experience relevant to that profession.
Short and sweet
Stick to a maximum of two pages. One page for entry level candidates or those who are very good at summarising their experiences. If going for the 2-page option, avoid leaving the second page half-empty.
Avoid using uncommon acronyms, unless if its something as obvious as GSCE. If it’s something not that obvious, write in bracket what it stands for.
Lastly key sections to include on your CV. The order is not particularly important.
• Personal Details – key things to include: name, address, phone/mobile number and email address. Adding your LinkedIn Profile or your website address is also a great idea. Avoid including your age, gender, nationality, marital status and date of birth. Also steer away from including details of your other social media accounts such Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I doubt if there are any relevant details worthwhile including! Avoid unprofessional email address such those including words like hot/sweet/juicy…. Just open another more professional one, please – it’s free, after all.
• Personal Profile / Summary Statement – a brief pitch of who you are, your unique selling points, key skills, core competences and experience; as well as your main career aim.
• Career Summary / Work Experience / Work History / Relevant Experience – whatever title you choose, make sure you include the roles you have had in the past. It’s common to lay them out in chronological order, starting with your current or most recent role. Include your key achievements and skills acquired – most people tend to use bullet points to keep them short, snappy and easy to skim through.
• Education / Qualifications – include all the major qualifications you have attained including the dates you qualified. Again, it’s common to have them in chronological order. Avoid including short courses or listing every GCSE you have studied; unless that’s all you have. Include qualifications you are currently studying and a predicted grade and anticipated date of completion, if known. For degrees, if relevant, you may want to emphasise any key modules, dissertations or projects.
• Skills Summary – an optional section that can used to showcase your core skills. By breaking down your key skills into easy-to-read, well formatted points you make it easier for the employer to scan through your main abilities and strengths.
• Interests and Hobbies – show your personality and social side by including key things that you do outside work. This could include volunteering, charity work, club/associations, travelling and sporting activities.
• References – stay away from writing the full references. Just mentioning that ‘references available on request’ usually suffice. Some modern recruiters advocate for not including this section at all, as it’s a waste of valuable space and adds no value.