(Published in the Caymanian Compass, Thursday, 31 May)
Finding a job has never been an easy task, but in today’s age of austerity never has the search been tougher. With more people applying for any one position than ever before, ensuring your CV stands out from the crowd is a must.
Putting together a CV is the first step in anyone’s job search, whether you are a graduate or managing director. Making sure your CV goes to the top of the pile – and not straight in the bin – is all about ensuring your CV is not only top notch, but memorable and easy to read too. It should stress achievements and strengths, and make a good impression in a clear and positive way.
While different industries may require a slightly different tailored approach, experts suggest that there are a few basic rules that you should always stick to when writing a CV.
Meredith McCreadie, a recruitment specialist at Affinity Recruitment Ltd., said for the most part, a CV should be short – no more than two sides of A4 paper – and outline job talents, work history, education and career goals as well as how your experience and skills would be suited to the job being advertised.
“A CV is basically a snapshot of who you are and what you can offer as an employee,” Ms McCreadie says.
She advises keeping it as simple as possible, starting with contact details, such as telephone number, email and physical address, and then a short profile on skills and experience in paragraph format or bullet points. This should be followed by employment history and education.
“Less is more with resumes. Most human resource professionals do not have the time to read a book of a resume and nor do they wish too,” she says.
For graduates, Ms McCreadie suggests highlighting academic achievements and skills learnt through volunteer or extra curriculum activities.
“For school leavers I would include academic achievements inclusive of grade point average and awards received. Discipline in your high school studies will show an employer your commitment to learn and character.”
She adds: “Volunteer or extra curriculum activities are a great way for students to develop themselves and find out what they excel in apart from their school work. Some skills developed would be time management, commitment, responsibility and team work.
“Other topics that could be listed are significant achievements and associations or clubs that would be relevant for the position they are applying for.”
Most importantly of all, Ms McCreadie stresses the importance of checking, and then double checking, for errors in your CV.
“This is your first impression, so it is very important that there are no errors. Spelling and grammar errors are one of the main pitfalls that people often fall into. Always proofread your resume. Perfection is a must.”
Finally, she suggests researching the company you are applying for to gain an understanding of who they are as an organisation.
“It is important for graduates to know there is a difference between a job and a career.
“A job gives you a pay cheque, a career is a journey, a pathway through life with goals, advancement and continuous learning. Knowing who you are and what your natural abilities are will help in deciding on a profession.”
Personal details, including name, address, phone number, email address and possibly any professional social media presence.
A personal profile that sells yourself and your qualities.
Qualifications and training.
Career history, starting with your most recent job first. For graduates, highlight your work experience.
Include interests only if they are relevant to the job.
Any extra information, such as reasons for a career change or reasons for gaps in career history.
References, ideally two or more, one should be from a recent employer, or for graduates from a teacher.
What not to include
Date of birth and other personal information is not necessary.
Keep to what you are able to offer as an employee; education, experience and skills. Pictures are also not necessary, unless you are applying for a modelling role. Generally speaking, jobs are not based on your physical appearance.