A career expert has revealed several ways to ensure your CV grabs a future employer’s attention – and insists including a photograph is an absolute no no.
‘Candidates shouldn’t include a photo of themselves in their application as employers don’t want to be influenced by gender or a prospective employer’s looks,’ Andrew Hunter, co-founder of UK job search engine Adzuna explained.
‘And sharing reference details ahead of them being requested is unnecessary and could alert your current employer that you are looking for a role ahead of when you’d like to.’
Recent research by Adzuna has also higlighted the importance of ‘soft skills’ with communication being the most sought-after, with almost 11 per cent of job ads mentioning the term, followed by ‘organised’ and ‘planning’.
Read on to find out what other dos and don’t you need to consider when applying for your next job.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna said your CV should clearly show off your employment history, education and key skills, but it should also be flaw free (stock image)
1. Be the best ‘You’: Accurate and flaw-free
First impressions count on paper as much as they do face-to-face. Ask yourself: Does your CV accurately present your journey so far?
If not, do some housekeeping and brush up on your CV to ensure it’s representative of your career path and your current ambitions.
It should clearly show off your employment history, education and key skills, but it should also be flaw free.
2. Organisation is key: Structure your CV
The same CV format won’t work for everybody and in every circumstance. The right format to best show yourself off will depend on your background and the amount of experience you have. Here are three structures to think about:
– A chronological CV: This is the most common type of CV used today and easily shows an employer your work experience dating from the most recent through to the earliest.
– Skills Based / Functional CV: This CV highlights your skills and expertise. It’s useful for senior management positions or for those changing careers who need to focus on relevant skills and achievements.
– Combined / Hybrid CV: This is an increasingly popular format as it takes elements of both the chronological CV and the functional CV formats.
3. Picture perfect: Frame your CV with a profile
Your CV is likely the first thing an employer will see so frame yourself well by including a profile at the top of your CV.
It’s as simple as a few sentences or bullet points (up to 200 words) which present your unique selling points that make you a perfect match for the role you are applying for. Updating this for every role ticks the ‘customised CV’ box.
The UK-based expert also said to ensure your CV is tailored to every company and role you’re applying for as prospective employers need to be assured that you haven’t sent the same CV to lots of other companies (stock image)
4. Stand out from the crowd: Avoid CV buzzwords
Ensure your CV is tailored to every company and role you’re applying for – it may seem time-consuming, but prospective employers need to be assured that you haven’t sent the same CV to lots of other companies.
Everyone wants to feel special, right? You have a fine balance to strike but moving away from overused buzzwords like ‘motivated’ and ‘initiative’ could set your own CV apart from someone else’s.
5. ‘Soft skills’ count
Companies are not just looking for a candidate who tick all the right boxes regarding experience, but someone who will harmonise with the business and your potential colleagues.
Highlighting your soft skills alongside your hard skills will put you at an advantage to impress employers.
6. Be yourself
Don’t sound robotic. Professional experience in a CV is of course key to selling yourself, but also think about how you can go beyond this to really show who ‘you’ are.
Especially as according to our data, ‘Social’ is one of the most commonly used words on job ads so there’s clearly a desire from employers to hear from potential employees about their social life to see if your personality is a good fit for the role and company culture.
Try to include hobbies and interests which suit the role you’re applying for. This way, you can let your personality shine too!
7. Don’t give yourself away too much: Avoid intricate personal detail
There’s an array of aspects to include within your CV and it can therefore be overwhelming when thinking about what not to include – you don’t have to give your life away.
Some may seem obvious but avoid the following: A photograph of yourself, personal attributes (i.e. height or weight), date of birth, marital status, sexual orientation, national insurance number, bank account details and referee details.
The career expert advises applicants to avoid attaching a photograph, personal attributes (i.e. height or weight), date of birth, marital status, sexual orientation, national insurance number, bank account details and referee details (stock image)
8. Don’t be caught out
Leave out irrelevant information If a position you held five years ago was completely irrelevant to the role you’re applying for today.
Don’t waste valuable time and space talking about responsibilities and duties which do not improve your application (but do leave the dates in there so you don’t have unexplained absences!)
Instead, use your cover letter as an opportunity to explain your career path.
9. Finally… Beat the machine
Make sure your CV can beat the paper sifting stage. Tracking systems are becoming popular to help companies screen and weed out unqualified candidates so it’s key to make sure your CV can be read by the software and that’s it’s optimised to avoid being placed in the virtual recycling bin.
Here’s a few pointers to avoid being thrown away at the first hurdle:
– Make sure your CV uses a standard word format as not every ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) can handle PDFs
-Use proper capitalisation so groups of words which are related to each other are recognised
– Integrate terminology from the job advert into your CV so you show up near the top of the rankings for most relevant candidates.