Winning an Interview
When your CV hits the desk of a potential employer you have exactly two minutes (if you’re lucky) to create that all-important, interview-winning impression.
That is what writing a winning CV is all about – getting your name on that interview shortlist. The reason for you to write that CV, is to get the job that you are applying for, the job that you want. That’s why your CV is such an important sales document. It is selling you and your experience.
Your CV is the key to getting you that interview. The reader needs to feel interested and be able to see instantly that you have the right skills for the job. Everything you are selling needs to be clear, precise and easy to spot on the top half of that first page.
Be aware that your potential employer may receive hundreds of applications, hence the CVs that are well written and whose skills are clearly presented and match the job requirements are the ones that will hold the recruiters attention.
Make sure your CV is accurate, easy to read and has no spelling mistakes. Present a clear and concise document that encourages the reader to take a closer look at your skills.
Many people think that one CV will fit all applications, but it needs to be a targeted document for the role you are going for. You could draft a ‘cover all’ basic CV but for each application you will need to change what skill set you are selling according to the job on offer so that employers can easily spot why you will be good for their role.
Experts suggest there are some basic rules on how a CV should be written and the information that should be included.
- A CV should be neat and typed if possible. Avoid overcrowding of text.
- It should also be short, usually no more than two sides of A4. It should be positive, stressing achievements and strengths .CVs often fail because of sheer overload. It is important to keep enough back to elaborate on at the interview.
- The CV should be accurate and correct.
- Your contact information should be clearly visible on the first page of the CV.
- The best way to write about your experience is to write it backwards, i.e. the last job you had first and then the rest backwards chronologically.
- Achievements should be listed by bullet points.
- Your qualifications and/or any skills development training should be presented clearly and concisely starting with the highest degree and working backwards.
- Add a personal profile which sells yourself and your qualities, tailored towards the job you are applying for.
- Never include statements or achievements that cannot be proven. Whenever possible, show results in numbers.
- Use good quality, plain paper.
- Use the past tense where possible. It gives the impression you have actually completed something. Goals have been achieved.
- Use a spell checker. Poor spelling is the quickest way of getting a rejection.
- Be honest. You might be asked to explain any aspect of your CV.
- Employers are interested in your most recent experience, so start with it.
- Avoid gaps in your employment and education.
- Don’t include your salary, unless it has been specifically asked requested. The best time to talk about this is at the end of the selection process when the employer wants you.
- Be positive about your achievements, your experience.
- Always get someone else to proofread your CV and ask for his or her comments.
YOU have to be confident that your CV really reflects your accomplishments and will ensure the recruiter wants to meet you. Perhaps the most important rule of all is that you are comfortable with the final document. It is YOUR document.
You will be asked questions about it at interview. You must feel confident about it.