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A great resume or CV is the first step in landing your dream job, so it’s important to get it right.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional in your industry or applying for your first job out of school, your resume needs to highlight your skills, experience and accomplishments in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd and show potential employers that you’re right for the job. Here are our tips to get you started.

1. Summarise your strengths

Write a professional summary that is presented at the top of your CV and tailored to each individual job application. It should address the requirements of the position and explain how your skills and experience make you an excellent candidate for the role. Try to steer clear of clichés and jargon like team player or good communicator—it’s best to demonstrate your strengths with real-life examples that will be more memorable to an employer than a list of terms used by everyone applying for the same job. You should also try to avoid writing a summary that outlines what you are looking for in a role. Employers are only thinking about what you can offer them, so focus on your key strengths and how they’ll benefit the organisation.

2. Sell your skills and achievements

When talking about your current and previous roles, you don’t need to list every single thing you do on a day-to-day basis. Look for key skills and achievements that are relevant to the role and show how they made a difference to your organisation. Focus on achievements that went above and beyond your job description, including awards or projects that demonstrate your tenacity and commitment to the job. Employers are looking for results, so if you increased sales, reduced costs, maximised efficiencies or produced some other business result in your time at the company, make sure you highlight this in your CV.

3. Pay attention to the details

It’s important that every aspect of your CV is correct, from your spelling and grammar to the information presented within the document. Read over it carefully before uploading and get a friend to double-check you haven’t made any mistakes. Your CV is the first impression a potential employer will have of you, so make it count.

Attention to detail is also important when it comes to the way you apply for your next job. Read over the job description and take note of any instructions the employer has added to their job advertisement. If they ask that you include certain information, or request that you format your CV in a particular way, it’s best to comply if you want to increase your chances of getting the job.

If you’re applying for jobs via email, make sure you attach your cover letter and CV rather than pasting it into the body of the email. It’s easier for employers to save documents from applicants in a central location and print them out if required. Emails can look different depending on what email program is used, so your beautiful letter could end up looking like a mess once it reaches the employer. Not a good look!

4. Format your CV carefully

To make it easy for employers to save your CV into their database, it’s best to use a common format like .docx or PDF. Try to avoid using tables, graphs or images as they can be difficult to read and become distorted easily. Professional-looking fonts are also important for making a good impression: stick to traditional fonts like Arial or Times New Roman and steer clear of colours, italics and excessive bold type or underlining.

When formatting the content in your CV, it’s best to present your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position and working backwards. You don’t need to write an essay: simply outline the name of the company, your job title, the dates of employment (month and year) and a summary of your role and responsibilities. This is often best presented in bullet-point form, so an employer can scan your CV and see if you’re right for the job.

5. Don’t forget the essentials

Many people get so focused on the details, they forget the essential information that needs to be included on their CV. Make sure your full name, address, phone number and email address are displayed prominently on the first page of your CV, as well as within the footer of each page. It’s important that your email address sounds professional, even if it’s a Gmail or Yahoo account. If you’re not sure whether your email address is appropriate to send to a potential employer, set up a new account with some variation of your name. Remember, you’re not legally obliged to include your age, gender, marital status or any other personal details in your CV, so it’s best to leave them out.

Creating an engaging CV that’s tailored to the role available will put you in a strong position for the essential next step: getting an interview. Good luck!

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Madison White

Author Madison White

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