Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Writing a Successful CV – Part 1

When it comes to applying for a new job, your CV is the ticket to get you that initial foot in the door and secure an interview – but how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than thrown straight in the bin?

Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how. It's a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you're applying for. MAC Scientific has put together the following tips (part 1 of 2 posts) to help you get started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) job.

Get the basics right

There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; relevant skills to the job in question; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and details of some referees.

Don’t feel you have to keep your CV to 2 pages but remember that all the information in your CV should be directly linked to the job you are applying for. For example, if you have both chemistry and microbiology industry experience and you’re apply for a microbiology role make sure you put more emphasis on your microbiology skills and only briefly touch on the chemistry experience.

Presentation is the key

A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented. The layout should always be clean and well structured. If your CV is not laid out clearly or is poorly edited the recruiter will question your computer skills.  Avoid using the spacebar to position text.

Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter's eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there, for example this is the best place to put your key skills and experience related to the role.

It is important to remember that, as it is so easy to apply to roles online, recruiters are now inundated with applications. Recruiters allegedly spend less than one minute reviewing a CV; during this first minute they are looking for key skills and experience directly related to the role. If these are missing they will not read any further.

Adapt the CV to the role

Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don't have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they're relevant.

Remember, there is less value in a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employer should be adapted to reflect your relevant skills and experience to the role. It is worth the extra effort as your adapted CV will be more likely to get you on the shortlist. A generic CV is always obvious to spot e.g “I am looking to establish a career in Regulatory affairs” when in fact you are applying for a Quality role. This can show disinterest in the role, i.e. you have not bothered to read the job description and adapt your CV to make the most of your relevance. So take the time to tailor the CV to the role and show the recruiter that you are interested enough to make that extra effort.

Understand the job description

The clues are in the job description, so read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy. Then look at your CV, are these skills clearly shown? If not, make sure they are for example; in your key skills section.

If there is a skill that you are lacking, try to link it to a transferable skill. For example if the role is looking for supervisory experience think about skills linked to supervising i.e.  have you trained other staff, provided cover for a team leader, or organised workloads for other staff or apprentices?

Part 2 coming soon

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