How to turn your CV into a sales tool that will land you your dream job
Your CV is a vital element in the sculpting of your career. It’s essentially what stands between getting an interview and being overlooked completely. A CV is more than just a list of your qualifications and jobs-to-date; it’s actually a chance to sell your skills to potential employers.
This article is packed with tips to help you turn your CV into a sales tool that will get you the job you’ve always wanted.
Tailor your CV to each role you apply for
When you’re job-hunting, it might be tempting to send the same CV to multiple employers to save time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if your CV is impressive, but you’ll stand out even more to potential employers if you take time to tailor it to each role you’re applying for.
Do some research; find out as much as you can about the company and use the job description to help you highlight which of your skills to mention. This will save you time when it comes to interview prepping, and your would-be boss will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to!
Your CV should include a short, one paragraph personal statement that explains why you’re the best person for the job you’re applying for. This should include:
- Any skills you have that are mentioned in the job advertisement
- Statistics from projects you’ve worked on in previous employment
- How you can add value to the role
- Your career aspirations
If you prefer, you could split your personal statement into bullet points to make it more reader-friendly; you don’t want your potential employer getting bored and skimming through the important bits! We’ll talk more about how long your CV should be later.
Skills and qualifications
Recruiters and business owners will be keen to see what skills you’ve acquired throughout your career. You should ideally link your key skills to workplace experience and include a range of transferrable, job-related and adaptive skills.
Though you should include any relevant qualifications you have, don’t feel the need to clog up your CV with every exam result you’ve ever got. If you have a qualification that is especially relevant to your desired job role, then it would be sensible to include it, but you don’t need to list all your Junior Certificate results if it’s not necessary to do so.
List your previous employment placements in chronological order and provide a brief list of your duties, and how you applied your skills. This will give recruiters and employers a chance to see how you’ve worked before and if there’s anything you’ve done in a previous role that could be transferred into the position they’re offering.
It’s possible that you might have a gap in your employment history. Whilst this isn’t always a cause for concern, employers might ask about them, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Explaining a gap in your CV won’t harm your chances of getting a job, but lying about it might. Be honest where you can be, and try to put a positive spin on the situation.
For example, if you were struggling to find a job, you could say something like “I took some time out between [date and date] to refocus my career and find a position in my chosen industry”. This puts you in control and displays you as a positive individual who cares about your career.
Don’t mention salary expectations
Talking money on your CV can be risky. Including your expectations can put potential employers off if what you’re asking for is higher than the salary they’ve set.
If you’re new to the job market, putting your pay expectations on your CV might mean that you miss out on an opportunity that pays less than you’d like, but helps you get your foot in the door. Often due to lack of experience, you might be paid the minimum wage until you’ve acquired more skills. But experience is invaluable and if you do well in your job, career advancements and pay rises will come your way.
Include specific examples of results
Sometimes, it’s not enough to just state your achievements; you need the data to back it up. Rather than saying that you increased rankings for a website, provide percentages and real-life examples with time frames to really wow the company you’re applying at.
Employers will check your background and if they smell a rat, you’re bound to get caught out. Nobody wants to get asked a question they can’t answer during their interview and besides, if you lie on your CV, get the job and then find you can’t actually carry out the role because you don’t have the experience you said you have, it’s only going to cause problems for you.
Honesty is an admirable trait anyway, and employers will appreciate candidates who tell the truth just as much as those who have lots of experience.
Potential employers are often very busy and don’t have time to read through long, detailed resumes. Typically, a CV should be no longer than 2 A4 pages. If you have a lot of experience to fit on, try to condense it so that only the most relevant information for that specific job is included. You can always expand on your experience in the interview.
With these tips, you can hopefully craft a fantastic CV that will help you land your dream job in no time.