Like most writing, understanding your audience can vastly improve the appeal and quality of your curriculum vitae or CV. Employers plow through hundreds of CVs at a stretch and not surprisingly it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Even worse, some mistakes can get your CV dismissed out of hand. However, their are some tricks to making a CV more appealing.
First off, make your CV two pages long. Any longer and they don’t want to read it. Any less and you’ll look unqualified. Some simple and acceptable means of extending a small job history include enlarging the font and providing easy to read white space. In fact, even if you have a lot of experience employers often prefer CVs which can be easily read rather than being confronted with a solid block of text.
A few things destroy the quality of a CV, but seem to creep into nearly all of them. Vague writing wins the prize for worst. Instead of saying, “I’m a good worker and I know stuff” make sure to tell them not only what you know, but where you learned it and, hopefully, applied it. For every statement, include proof of what you know with work or educational experience. Although it may be tempting, never lie. A lie will inevitably be detected when they actually ask you to perform and you can’t.
When you go to write a CV make sure you make it count. With a two page maximum length, young applicants might wish to show off their vocabulary. Nothing could be worse. Regardless of your experience, the employer still wants dense supported fact delivered efficiently in bite sized data chunks. Utilize bullet points, bolding, colons, and other organizational methods to eliminate wasted verbiage while getting your point across. If it’s too short, add white space, enlarge the font, or shorten the page length. Don’t use filler words.
Lastly, tailor your CV to the employer. Likely, some of your experience or schooling will be more or less relevant to the job at hand. Remove or condense what lacks relevancy while highlighting and emphasizing the most relevant portions. Employers will appreciate the effort you spend doing this since they’ll immediately see what you need them to see, rather than having to wade through job experience or background that has little or nothing to do with them.