6 tips for a winning CV

If you’ve started to look for a new job, you probably know that updating your CV comes into the equation.

Focusing only on your CV isn’t the way to go as there is a lot more to your job search including looking at your networks, getting clear about who you want to work for and exploring channels to market yourself to that targeted organisation.

Here are some crucial tips to remember when writing your CV:

1.    Keep it simple. When we assign too much importance to our CVs, we are in danger of over-complicating them by adding all kinds of trimmings and irrelevant information. Don’t turn your CV into your autobiography and don’t add a picture—why does the recruiter have to know what you like before putting you through to the next stage?

2.    Think like a recruiter. Speaking of recruiters and headhunters, they receive piles of CVs for each available position and initially only skim each document, looking for quick information to point them towards the most suitable candidates to longlist/shortlist. Pepper your CV with keywords that stand out and put the information that shows you’re suited to the position near the top of document.

3.    CVs alone do not secure jobs. Contrary to the beliefs in modern society, CVs are not the be all and end all. Your CV is not going to secure your dream position by itself; regardless of its quality. The way forward is to combine a straightforward and targeted CV with the use of your connections. Use your network to leverage leads to job openings, rather than spamming out your CV to a whole bunch of strangers just because you saw a job advertisement.

4.    CVs are best served warm. Even if you don’t have any connections who’ve been, or are, involved in the organization you want to work for, there are still ways to avoid ‘cold emailing’ it to the employer. Telephone the company to see if there’s anyone you can speak to about the position. Many job vacancies—especially senior ones—now include a contact name and number for anyone who wants to discuss the role before applying.

5.    There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’. It is surely better to tailor your CV to each individual vacancy as opposed to reaming off copy after copy of exactly the same document to a diverse array of employers. Even if the positions you’re applying to all have the same title, there will be subtle differences between each job spec and the various organizations will certainly have differences that will make what they want—and their recruitment processes and logic—unique.

6.    Take your time. Although you shouldn’t spend ages and ages laboriously turning your CV into an intricate, jam-packed work of art, you shouldn’t rush it either. Take your time over each application rather than rushing through them into order to send as many out as possible.  Applying for a mass of jobs is not going to make you more likely to land to one if each application is sub-par.

Nisa Chitakasem is the co-founder of www.positionignition.com , one of the UK’s leading career consulting companies. Position Ignition specialises in career change,  job search, career planning and helping people to find more fulfilling roles and be clear about the right career direction for them.