Having a CV is a vital part of applying for any job or work experience in New Zealand. Not only is it vital to have one – it’s also very important that you keep it up-to-date and recognise when it may need a bit of a refresh. If your CV hasn’t been working magic for you lately and you’re a little confused why, we’ve compiled this handy list of reasons why that might be, and expert tips that will help you spruce it up!
Your CV is too long-winded.
Employers will most likely spend 6 seconds skimming over your CV, and you want to be able to make a good enough impression in that short amount of time. It can be so easy to get into a flow of writing, especially when the topic is yourself. This is definitely a habit you want to kick when writing a CV, as long-winded paragraphs and pages on pages of writing can cause more harmful effects than good.
For students without much professional history, a CV is usually about one A4 page long. Keep it simple and uncluttered, with plenty of white space. Using an easy-to-read font like a sans-serif in around a 10-point font size can help you save space. Other tips for keeping the length down include cutting out paragraphs about your interests and hobbies, and keeping the necessary information to short and sweet statements.
It worked last time you got a job, so you haven’t changed it.
Your CV is not a one-time project. Only adding new work experience onto the list is not enough to keep your CV fresh and up-to-date. Each time you look at your CV to update it, it pays to take the time to update the whole thing: Refresh the writing style, read over each section and make sure you haven’t missed anything out, and take away things that aren’t as relevant now as you once thought.
Even though your old CV once scored you a great job, it’s important to continue to improve it. You as a person are improving, after all! This way, your CV in its entirety is constantly an accurate representation of you as a person. If your tone of voice or your design taste changes over time, update that in your CV the same as you would update your email address. It can make a world of difference to employers.
You don’t tailor it to the job you’re applying for.
Employers can tell if you have sent them a generic CV that has been rattled off to 10 different job applications. Prevent being overlooked by customising your CV to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for. If you are applying for several jobs, this can definitely take some time, so think about at least narrowing it down to the specific field of job you are searching for. For example, the employer for a managerial role isn’t going to care how good your latte art is, but they will care that your barista job taught you valuable leadership and teamwork skills.
Furthermore, customising your CV helps highlight relevant information, making you more likely to be considered for a job. Including everything you have ever learned or gained from previous jobs is not only unnecessary, but it can also be confusing to read and often employers won’t bother. Taking the time to tailor your CV for the job you want shows that you are more interested in the position, and right for the job.
The CV’s composition needs tweaking.
Sometimes it isn’t about your CV’s content, it just needs a bit of a rearrange – composition-wise. We mentioned before that employers take 6 seconds on average to look over CV’s. Even if you’ve cut your info right down to a page, it can still be optimised even more so that it flows throughout the page and all the most important information is sure to be read.
Here are some tips for organising an effective CV:
· Put your contact details first, and make sure they can stand on their own with purpose.
· Make sure you have headers for each section, and that they’re large enough to stand out.
· The line spacing should be wide enough so that your CV remains calm and uncluttered.
· Some people opt for a 2-column composition, which is extremely effective. If you wish to use one column, make sure you have wide page margins so that your lines do not exceed 15 words per line.
· Having a sidebar which includes your details and a brief introduction can be an effective way to divide your page.
· Use page breaks, bars or shaded boxes to separate each section so that they can easily be read on their own.
· Utilise bullet points, icons and tables for a space-saving approach.
Bonus Tip: Give Your Skills a Refresh
If you’ve followed all the advice in this article and you’re finding your CV still isn’t pulling in as many offers as you’d like, maybe it’s time to look at upgrading the content. Why not spend some time and take a short course to upgrade your skills?
At Crown Institute of studies, we offer a selection of short courses in Auckland. From barista courses, hospitality and even teaching English courses. You’ll learn valuable skills that will stand out to employers on any CV.
If you want to upgrade your skills with a short course from Crown Institute, talk to us today.