Create a Curriculum Vitae (CV).
Do it right and Get the Job!

With the ease applying for jobs by email, recruiters receive more applications than they can honestly answer. If you want your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to rise to the top and get noticed, there are a few things you can do to make sure yours is one a recruiter will consider and not one he will toss:

  1. Create a Job-Specific CV:

    You can hire a professional writer, use a job coach or prepare a great looking CV yourself. There are online templates that may be useful guides. But creating a good CV is more than having one that looks pretty on the screen or on paper. It's what it says that matters.

    A recruiter will scan a CV at first glance which means you have but a few seconds to capture his attention. If you have chosen key words that jump off the page, you will be farther ahead.

    While you may want to have a generic CV prepared, you should always tailor it to the specific job being applied for. The advertisement, combined with a visit to their website, should help you find out what they do, who their clients are, and about their culture. If there isn't enough information, research similar positions at similar organizations.

    Review the content of your education and the roles you've played in past jobs, and draw attention to aspects of them that relate to the position. The goal is to prove that you have something to offer and will be an asset to them, not by telling them you will be, but by using pertinent terminology, and highlighting relevant points. Use professional and vivid adjectives in your descriptions rather than just stating facts.

    Making your CV job-specific this way, shows you've done your homework and know a little bit about who it is you're applying to. A recruiter wants to make a connection between his openings and you in order to keep reading, and consider you for an interview.

  2. Show Your Value:

    If you don't have past work experience in the field you are applying to, write an introductory statement explaining why you want to move into that type of work. Use a covering letter or email to do this, and consider adding a “goal” statement at the top of your CV that explains why you are applying when you have no direct experience already.

    You may want to point out how past jobs helped you earn your way through school, or helped you to develop soft skills. Perhaps you learned more about yourself, or how to work as a team. A past job may have been instrumental in identifying choices that resulted in your current direction.

    The worst thing you can do is list a bunch of courses and jobs without showing any relevance. Every descriptive paragraph doesn't need to be the same size.
    Minimize irrelevant work and emphasize appropriate points.

  3. Speak the Right Language:

    There is terminology common to most organizations. When you “speak their language”, as shown in your CV, the recruiter will see that you understand the type of work you are applying for. Consult with a career counselor, instructor, or other professional who may help you put your ideas into appropriate words.

    Your CV should give a recruiter a snapshot of your life path. It should show where you've been, where you're headed, and why you're interested in arriving at the position he is offering.

  4. Show Your Personality:

    Your CV is the only thing a recruiter has, to gain an idea of your personality prior to an interview. Don't go into lengthy off-topic descriptions, but show your personality by drawing attention to courses you most academically achieved in or were most interested in and elements of past jobs that you were successful in, if you think they will relate to the position being applied for.

    Depending on the position, you may want to outline a few of your hobbies. It helps a recruiter to get a picture of you that goes beyond your work history and education. Executive CV's usually forgo this section; however, it can be an asset if you're at the start of your career.

    If in your research you've discovered charities the organization is involved in, volunteer work they participate in, ball games or road races they put teams into, professional sports teams they sponsor, technology competitions the compete in, and so forth, you may be able to make a correlation to your own interests that will connect you with their culture and values.

    Keep your list of hobbies brief, bearing in mind how your list may be perceived by the reader. There may be some personal interests (like getting tattooed, playing video games, etc.) that are better left out. Try to show a balance between solitary and group activities, active and passive.

    Don't fabricate anything, just to make an impression , or list something you haven't done in the last ten years!

  5. Address Your Application Correctly:

    Don't create a great CV only to get it lost in no-man's land by not addressing it correctly. In order to get your CV to the proper person, respond to the exact address provided, whether it be an email or post-mail address, and proofread your typing or handwriting thoroughly.

    Add an “Attention” line if you are given the name of the recruiter. Make sure you spell the name correctly. It is an insult to a potential employer to see his name or the organization's name misspelled. That alone can land your CV in the trash, or at least start things off with a poor impression.

    Have a serious sounding email address to apply with. Employers might become suspicious and, worse, your email may end up in the “Junk” folder or listed as “Spam”, if it doesn't look legitimate. Forgo hobby email addresses like “wannabe electrician”, “deathangel”, or “chattymiss”, in favor of one that shows your real name.

  6. Identify the Position Accurately:

    If sending your CV by email, add a great subject line. This is the second thing the recruiter will look at when deciding if he should open your email now or later. If responding to an advertisement, state the job title, number or other reference given in the advertisement in your subject line. For a general application, make it clear in the subject line that you are making an application, and state for what type of position.

    If using post mail, outline the above information in a covering letter.

    Add a covering letter, email note or a short statement on the top of the CV, to explain your objective. Recruiters don't have time to waste trying to figure out your intention. Your CV may get forwarded to oblivion or deleted if it doesn't seem to pertain to the recipient.

  7. Don't Allow these Faux Pas:

    Misspellings & Poor Grammar: Nothing turns a recruiter off quicker than misspellings and poor use of grammar. Proofread the entire document more than once. Enlist a friend or professional to edit it, if you can.

    Wrong Application in the Envelope or Generic Blast Email: It is very easy when applying to several locations at once, to mix up the material. What you don't want to do, is to send a CV out that you've also sent to the competition, but forgot to change the information in the introductory note. The organization you're applying to doesn't want to know you are willing to also work for the competition. They are more flattered thinking you have specifically selected them.

    Evidence of Generic Blast Mailing: Failing to personalize your application is a tale-tell sign that you have done a CV-blast, which in the recruiter's eyes, minimizes your interest in them. He will perceive he is just one of many organizations you are applying to.

    Criticize Past Employers: No matter how disgruntled you felt at your last place of employment, pointing out your employer's faults will only serve to harm you. Don't write anything in your CV that shows signs of conflict or a negative personality.

    Leak Confidential Information: No matter how much a competitor may enjoy reading confidential information about another organization, if you leak anything you shouldn't, you will be seen as untrustworthy.

Getting your CV out may seem like a small quick step, but it may be the only foot in the door to your dream job that you get. Don't blow it! Pay attention to what it is you are communicating in your CV, make sure it is completely truthful and polite, proofread it well, and then wait for a call!