We’ll get straight to the point… CV writing is no easy feat. Staring at a blank page, knowing you have to spend the next few hours writing about you, what you excel at and what you can bring to a company can be intimidating, even for the most seasoned writers. How do you sell yourself without bragging…? How do you showcase your creativity whilst adhering to professionalism…? How the heck do you chose a font…? Is there a rule about colours…? Will it stand out…?
The list really is endless.
One thing is largely set in stone, however. No two CVs should ever be the same. Do you remember in school when you were given a template to practice writing a CV? It was helpful back then, but now, your friend is applying to be a creative director and you’re going for a chemical engineering role. Your CVs therefore, need to be very different.
There are numerous factors which need to be addressed when writing an individual CV. Today, we’re going to debunk some of the common myths surrounding them.
Your CV does not have to fit onto two pages.
If you’re a university graduate looking for your first proper job, then the chances are you don’t have two pages worth of experience, so make sure you stay as succinct as possible. If, however, you’re applying for a senior position, you may have years of experience in numerous countries, undertaking different roles and utilising different skill sets. If this is you, you DO NOT have to make your CV fit onto two pages. Senior roles are often in top-end pay brackets and require individuals to undertake significant responsibility, and you must be able to prove that you can do the job. If, therefore, your CV spills over two pages, don’t worry. Make sure everything you have discussed is relevant and to the point. Generally, the length of your CV should match the seniority of the position you are applying for.
Your CV does need to be relevant to the job you’re applying for
The style of your CV depends on the sort of role you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a highly competitive role in the creative sector, adding colour, pictures and quirks to your CV will help you stand out. If, however, you are applying for an office-based role, keeping it short, sharp and simple may see you fare better. Of course, it really does depend on the company and what they are looking for. If they ask for creativity, be creative. If the job advert is fun and quirky, tailor your CV to reflect it.
You do not need to provide references, but do you do need to offer.
If you can get references from previous employers or mentors, do. You don’t need to attach them to your CV, however as there may not be space. If a potential employer is interested, they will ask to see them. Be sure to have them ready to send if they are requested and ensure they are in the same font and format as your CV. If you don’t have any references or you’re going for your first job, ask a teacher or trusted friend for a personality profile instead. Remember, potential employers will not always ask to see your references, but it’s important to know that they exist.
You should write in the first person.
This is your CV, so it needs to sound like it’s coming from you. It should not sound like an obituary nor a biography of your achievements. Keeping it in first person makes it more personable, too.
You should not give them your life story
Putting a photo on your CV, disclosing your age, or telling your potential employers that you’re a three-time divorcee with two children called Sam and Patricia, can lead to discrimination. Don’t do it.
Include a link to your LinkedIn profile but only if it offers something different to your CV; for example, if you’ve attached interesting pictures, projects, slideshows, and videos showcasing your work.