Top 5 Tips for Improving your Cv

By: NES Group

Your CV is an invaluable mechanism for creating a positive impression to organisations that you are interested in working for: it is the foundation on which their perceptions will be based, so it is important to take the time to make sure your CV contains everything that is needed in order for the recipient to decide that they would like to invite you for an interview.

Your CV serves as a special kind of autobiography, offering a short written account of your achievements and experience. To make it as effective as possible, imagine yourself in your potential manager's place and think about the skills and qualities they may wish to invest in and why. You can then organise and present the information in your CV in a way that is most likely to interest potential employers.

Easily avoidable errors are common among the CVs put forward by engineering personnel, according to the results of a recent survey by specialist technical and engineering recruitment firm, NES. The company, which places technical, engineering and IT personnel, has issued five top tips for maximising the impact of a CV, based on the errors identified:

Pay attention to the layout of your CV:

The way in which you present your CV requires careful consideration. Over 70% of the recruitment consultants questioned in the survey by NES cited a poor layout as one of the most commonly occurring errors made by candidates when composing their CVs.

Uniformity, clarity and flow of information are particularly important when you bear in mind that an employer only needs to look at a CV for a few seconds before deciding whether or not to continue reading it.

Information should be presented under clearly labelled sections, with education and employment history documented in reverse chronological order - with the most recent position first. Contact details should always be clearly visible at the top of the CV. The most effective way to present your CV is with bullet points, bold headings and underlining. These simple methods can achieve a clear and structured style.

Check (and double-check!) for spelling and grammatical errors:

The importance of checking over your CV for spelling and grammatical errors cannot be stressed enough. Despite wide agreement that spelling, punctuation and grammar must be perfect when writing a CV, almost half of the survey respondents regularly encounter this type of error.

This suggests that applicants are either over-familiar with their own CVs having spent a lot of time compiling them, or are over-reliant on spell-checkers. The simplest way to avoid submitting a CV containing these types of mistakes is to ask someone else to read over it.

Tailor your CV to a specific role:

Tailoring your CV to a particular role will generate a much more positive response from employers than mass-mailing a standard CV to a large volume of recipients, according to NES recruitment consultants. In the survey, 50% of consultants cited failure to tailor a CV to a specific role as something they most frequently came across. While this relates primarily to permanent or long-term expatriate positions, contractors should tailor their CVs according to the specialist area of the organisation for which they would like to work.

Explain gaps in work history:

According to the same survey by NES, large gaps in work history were also cited as frequently encountered among technical and engineering CVs. Almost half of NES recruitment consultants said that this acted as a deterrent to hiring managers.

People who leave gaps in their work history leave employers with no alternative but to question why they have done so. By explaining that you spent time travelling or had a career break, you will eliminate the need for this: seemingly fragmented careers are unlikely to create a positive impression; although with contract roles, greater potential for career gaps means that it is only necessary to explain significant breaks in continuity.

Document the responsibilities of previous positions:

The fifth most frequently encountered CV error, according to over a third of respondents, was failure to list the responsibilities of a role. NES advises candidates to be specific and, wherever possible, tie in responsibilities to achievements. The company insists that, when composing your CV, there is no time for modesty: self-promotion is imperative.

To ensure that you secure interviews, read over the above tips and apply them to your own CV. Is it the CV of the perfect candidate? Give yourself a head start by paying attention to detail at this crucial stage of your job search.

www.nes.co.uk

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