Writing your CV

A good CV is a powerful thing. Be prepared to write several or adapt one to each position. Here are our top tips for writing a dazzler.

1. Personalise. Tailor your CV content to each role. Try to match the job requirements to your skills and achievements from your most recent roles.

2. Write a succinct personal profile. Think about the recruiter and what they need to know immediately. Tailor your personal profile to each role, drawing out relevant skills. Avoid clichés and be honest – this can be the hardest part to write but it’s well worth the effort.

3. Skills section. Make a list of your hard and soft skills – around 5 of each. Your hard skills are things like IT proficiency and your soft skills could be people management. Apply these skills to each post listed on your CV – showing where each has been relevant or enhanced.

4. Catch the eye. Make sure your CV format fits the position you are going for without being gimmicky. If it’s a creative role, for example, then how it looks is important. If it’s an editorial role – the written word is key.

5. Highlight transferable skills. This is especially important if you’re changing career. Connect your relevant skills and experience to the role and make them stand out on the first page.

6. Keep it short. The maximum length for a CV is two pages. Focus on the relevance of your two most recent roles and pull out transferable skills from previous roles into an overall competencies section.

7. Edit. Edit again. Make sure there are no typos in your CV. Get a friend to check it too. Don’t let a spelling mistake stand between you and an interview.

Skills and talent

1.Do a hard skills audit. What have you trained in or learnt and developed? What are your qualifications, programming languages, software competency, technical writing skills etc.?

2. Do a soft skills audit. Make a list of your personal skills. These may be harder to quantify, but are crucial to how you interact with your colleagues and clients. These could be negotiating, project or people management.

3. Identify your talents. What are you naturally good at? What do you love doing and do well?

4. The sweet spot. This is whereyour skills, talents and passions cross over. Identifying this spot and applying it to a job type is a good way to find the right type of job.

5. Close the skills gap. Identify and learn those skills you don’t have,skills that people already working in the roles you like do have.

6. Transferable skills. Highlight in your CV and applications those hard and soft skills that are also transferable. This helps you match a wider range of roles and maybe some that you haven’t considered before.

Covering letter

You may have a perfect CV but if your covering letter is lacking, it won’t get read. Don’t send your CV without one – even if it’s optional or not requested.

1. Personalise. Find out the name of the person you are writing to and think about what problem they might want to solve. Present yourself as the answer.

2. Do your research. Show that you’ve done your homework on the company, perhaps citing challenges and recent trends in the sector relevant to the position.

3. A dazzling opening paragraph. Say who you are and why you are excited to be applying for the role. It’s your opportunity to impress with your personality and how much you know about their work.

4. Tick-off the must-haves.  Follow the introduction by highlighting what you understand the role to be and how you match the job description must-haves.

5. Concise and clear. Keep sentences short. Edit and edit again the next day with fresh eyes. Read it aloud and then get a friend to check it.

6. Finish strong: The closing line is your last chance to underline your interest in the company and how you’d be a great fit for the position.

Interview techniques

The first rule to nailing an interview is to understand what a successful interview looks like.

1. First impressions last. Employers come to conclusions about a person in the first minute, so be smart and punctual. Offer a confident handshake with lots of eye contact and be genuine. 

2. Do your homework. Demonstrate that you have fully researched the company’s    background, current challenges and recent trends in the sector.

3. Know your CV. It will generally structure the process. Knowing how your project skills and competencies match the job spec is fundamental.

4. Be social. Building a rapport with the interviewer can be as important as

matching the skills criteria and will show that you’re pleasant to work with. Use your body language to display interest – nod in agreement, maintain eye contact and no slouching.

5. Identify your expectations. Respectfully identifying whether the company is a good fit for you is important and demonstrates confidence.

6. Ask questions: Have a few questions in mind to ask at the end of the interview. They will demonstrate your assertiveness and enthusiasm.

7. Follow up. It’s a nice touch to follow up with a thank you email letting them know you are looking forward to hearing from them.

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