12 Things You Can Do to Breathe More Life into Your CV or Personal Statement
The saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That is why a great CV or personal statement is extremely important. It is a representation of who you are and will be responsible for the initial decision of whether a potential interview is on the horizon or not.
An employer often has to search through hundreds of CVs to find the best candidate for the post that needs to be filled. Often an employer is pressed for time, so a CV that does not impress at first glance could be easily rejected.
This can make creating a CV to be a daunting task. Applicants usually find themselves endlessly pondering over questions such as “How could I make my CV or personal statement stand out from the crowd?” or “How could I prevent my CV being overlooked and not be added to the pile of unsuccessful applications?’’
To answer some of these questions, here are 12 things that you can do to breathe more life into your CV or personal statement:
- Make it readable and pay attention to the layout: First and foremost, you want to make your CV readable. This will make it easy for your potential employer or the dean of admissions to find information and navigate to different sections of your CV. Information provided must be to the point and quick to read.
- Make use of a professional resource: GT Scholars is an excellent example of an organisation assisting young scholars through mentorships and workshops. Great guidance for putting a good CV together is essential if you are not too sure of what to do. You could also gain great experience that will be really useful when entering the professional world.
- Adapt your CV to the role: Try and stray from a generic CV. This does not mean that you have to write a new CV for every position you want to apply for. Simply adapt a few details on your CV to be more prominent to a specific recruiter. This applies even more to a personal statement as you want to make sure that the qualities that are most suitable stand out.
- The importance of the first 3 words: In writing, it is believed that the first three words and the last three words in a written piece are what people remember most. It makes sense to apply the same principle when writing bullet points in your CV because employers do not read the whole document word for word.
- Pay attention to buzzwords: Try to avoid words that have been overused. These words have lost their charm and most of the time it will have lost its meaning to the recruiter as they most probably read many CVs and personal statements that have the same word choice. Check out this post on LinkedIn for the buzzwords to avoid in 2017.
- Let who you are shine through: Your personal statement should reflect clues about your personality. More often than not an employer will interview a potential candidate because he might have read something that interested him other than your professional achievements and experience. This can be anything from a sport, a book, or a volunteer activity that could be of mutual interest.
- Be aware of the CV length: There is an unspoken rule that a CV should never exceed 2-3 pages. Try to keep your CV short, but also not too short. Having a CV with 4 or more pages can result in important information not being read.
- Pay attention to font and size: Always pay attention to the font and size of your CV and personal statement. Ensure that it has the same font and size throughout the document. Never make your font size below 10 points. Use bold, italics and underline words but be careful not to go overboard with this.
- Good presentation goes a long way: There is more to presentation than having the perfect layout, length and font size. A dash of colour or a well-placed border can make your CV stand out from the rest and might be as good as a breath of fresh air, giving the recruiter something appealing to look at for a change.
- Name your file: Rename your CV file for each position you apply for via email or online. You can rename the file using your name and job title followed by ‘CV’. It will draw the attention of the recruiter and he/she will be able to find your job application easier.
- Trim the excess: Do not waste time and space on listing every achievement or position you have ever had. The recruiter will only be interested in reading information relevant to the position that needs to be filled.
- Keywords are very important: It should come as no surprise that in today’s day and age your CV might be read by a software programme before it is even submitted to a human. These programs are designed to look for words and phrases that relate to the job specifications or to the relevant industry. Ensure you do the necessary research and add keywords to your personal statement or CV.
You might feel that landing an interview will take forever, but by making use of these steps, you can definitely improve your chances. We hope that you find these tips helpful and that it will boost your confidence when sending your CV.
GT Scholars can provide you with an experienced mentor to help you start the journey of writing your CV and personal statement as well as applying for a new job or university acceptance. To find out what other opportunities and events we host for young people, feel free to contact us.