CV Writing Tips – How to Improve Your CV
There are some hard and fast rules to follow when writing a good CV – it needs to be professional yet punchy, but above all, it needs to ensure whoever read it wants to find out more about you…A great CV can help you secure a role in the ski industry or even a private household.
Start with your most recent work experience and work backwards
It makes sense to put your most recent work experience at the top – usually this is the most relevant to the jobs you are applying for and employers often want to see what you are up to at the moment (rather than the first role you had back in 2007!) If you have held other more relevant roles that you want to draw attention to, consider highlighting these, or making a special effort to mention them in your covering letter.
Always include employment dates and account for any gaps
It’s all very well listing the places you have worked, but without the corresponding dates, prospective employers don’t know how long you stayed at each place – it may have only been a week! Always include the dates you held each of your roles. You don’t need to remember the exact day you started, but do give the month and year when your role began and when you left. If there are any gaps between jobs, make sure you account for these. You may have gone travelling for six months, or taken some time off to care for a family member – gaps aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to mention why they are there. Sometimes they might even demonstrate some valuable life skills that you gained or may give your interviewer something non-work related to chat about during your interview.
You don’t need to list all of your GCSE’s!
It’s great if you got A* for everything back when you were 16, but you don’t need to list each one individually on your CV (even if you are proud of getting top marks in Art!) It is usually unnecessary and irrelevant – especially if you have more recent qualifications, such as A-levels, a degree or even job-specific education under your belt. Keep it simple and say something like this:
10 GCSE’s graded A-C including Maths, Sciences and English
Don’t forget to mention which school/college you went to, and if there is a specific subject you did that you would like to draw attention to (for example, if you did A-level French and are now an advanced speaker), don’t be afraid to highlight this in your CV too.
No longer than 2 pages
No matter how much experience you have, there is no reason why your CV should exceed two pages of A4. We’ve been known to get CVs through that are 5, 6 or even 10 pages long and I hate to say it, but we just don’t read it all! There will usually be hundreds of applicants for each advertised role, so you can imagine how many CVs need to be read – if yours is too long, you will lose the attention of the recruiter and potentially cost yourself an interview. Keep it concise and only include essential information – you can always elaborate on important things if you get to interview stage.
Write a short summary profile and make sure it’s up to date
It sounds silly but we’ve received CVs before that say things like, “I am a graduate looking for my first role in medicine”, or “I am looking forward to gaining more experience in the engineering industry”… Now that’s all very well but if you are applying for a Chalet Chef role for a winter season, you’re obviously looking in the wrong place! Employers like to see that you are committed and motivated to secure a role in a chalet, not just filling the last few months of a gap year. Make sure your opening statement reflects the roles you are applying for – and TOP TIP – you can always have various formats of your CV that are slightly tweaked to different roles if you are thinking about exploring more than one career path.
Do not make the format too complicated
If we can’t open your CV because you have written it as an online document that requires a password to access it, you’re not going to get very far. It doesn’t need to be in a fancy format – a simple Word document or PDF file is absolutely fine! And on that note…
No fancy pictures/clip art/wacky colours
Of course it’s important for your CV to stand out from the crowd, but it also needs to be readable and clear. It’s absolutely fine (and sometimes helpful) to include a small photo of yourself (although just a head shot is fine – no selfies or ‘holiday snaps’!), you don’t need to spend ages creating a really fancy CV full of clip art images, different coloured boxes, speech bubbles or other illegible formats. Keep the layout simple and if you must be more creative, try sticking to bold or italic text, or different sized fonts for headings.
Always include your contact details
Sounds obvious right? You’d be surprised how many people don’t include a contact number on their CV. How are we supposed to get hold of you if you don’t include this essential information?! If you are job hunting, you need to be contactable so including your phone number, email address and even Skype should be the first thing you write. Whilst we’re at it, make sure your contact details are up to date – it’s no use listing a mobile number that has been out of use for six months (applicable mainly to those who have done multiple seasons with a different mobile in each resort)
Don’t tell lies!
It’s tempting to twist the truth on your CV to exaggerate your experience or pretend you have certain qualifications when you haven’t, but the likelihood is, you will get caught out! Don’t try and get away with it…it’s better to be honest and let your personality do the rest rather than making something up to try and secure a role, when more often than not it will come back to bite you in the backside.
If you are applying as a couple, don’t do a joint CV
My personal bugbear is couples that apply with a joint CV – it’s not ‘cute’ and it’s not practical either! You are not attached at the hip and you probably have very different experiences under your belt, so even if you are applying for a couples role, interviewers want to see the individual reasons why you would each be suitable for the roles being advertised. Always have your own CV that you can send over when applying together – a joint cover letter is enough to show your intention that you want to work together.
Stick to a simple structure
At the end of the day, the most important things to include are as follows:
– Your personal details and contact information
– A personal profile or introduction
– Previous work experience
– Education and qualifications
– Interests/hobbies and other important information
It’s really important to include at least two or three references on your CV. You can write, “references on request” if you still need to finalise the contacts (or if you havent told your current employer you are leaving), but assume that all employers are going to check your references, so you may as well add them straight away! Ideally, they will be from your most recent places of work – the only other option is if you have a more relevant role from previously that would be able to provide you with a more suitable references for the role you are applying for. If you have writted references already, it’s a good idea to have these ready to send too, but be prepared for these to be checked!
If you include all of these things, your CV will follow a professional format and will have all of the necessary information for prospective employers to decide whether you will be successful in securing an interview. Once you have written the perfect CV, send it over to enquiries@silverswanrecruitment with your cover letter and let us know what roles you are interested in, or browse all of our vacancies here.
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