What is the perfect CV?
A CV might appear to be a subjective document that can differ from candidate to candidate but, no matter what kind of personal finishing touches you want to apply to it, there are some key content and structure elements that you need to make sure you include. To help you construct the perfect CV for your own skills and experience, as well as one that will sell you against the competition, we’ve put together some tips on what we think makes the perfect CV.
Structure. Keep it short!
Two sides of A4 at the most so that the person reading it doesn’t lose interest – and make sure you write in concise paragraphs with short sentences. Always type it up – hand written CVs are just not acceptable (or legible) – and use bullet points where possible. Make sure that your contact details are clearly displayed at the top.
This is an essential part of your CV but it doesn’t need to go into great detail about the day-to-day activities that were part of your roles or all your employment history. Focus on the headlines – if you were a site manager then did this involve managing a section of the works or a gang? If you want to demonstrate how you rose from apprentice to working foreman, site manager etc then do this concisely in a single paragraph – don’t overcrowd your CV with details from historic roles that aren’t relevant anymore.
It’s better to open your CV with the most recent and relevant skills and experience and the qualifications and training that apply to the role you’re applying for. Include older information lower down the page so that all the key communication is taking place as soon as the CV is picked up.
Stand out with a Personal Statement
One CV can be much like another but a concise opening statement paragraph at the top of your CV can give you the edge. This should be about three lines summarising your key strength, skills and experience, as relevant to this role.
Hobbies & Interests
Give your CV some personality with hobbies and interests. This is another way in which you can differentiate yourself but focus on those that demonstrate a quality or skill your potential employer might look for. Sports that show team work, volunteering that indicates commitment – these are ideal for enhancing your CV and making it stand out.
Don’t lose the job to a typo. You may as well accept that if you miss spell words or use poor grammar then this isn’t going to reflect well as far as many employers will be concerned. Check and re-check the CV before you send it out – then get someone else to check it too – mistakes detract from your skills and experience unnecessarily. Once you have completed your CV upload it and let the Skilled Careers team find you the perfect role!