Regardless of whether your CV is one page or two pages long (if it is more than two pages then your CV is too long!) the main skills and qualities you possess that you want to impart to the recruiter should fall into the first few sections of your CV. (If you do not have a CV yet then choose a free CV template from our selection).
The first section most people have on their CV is a Personal Profile. This section will introduce you to the recruiter and give them a strong flavour of your outlook:
A skilled customer service assistant with over five years experience working in this sector in both customer-facing and telephone-support roles…
It is imperative that you get this part of your CV pitch-perfect: it is the first section that the recruiter will read so aim for a creative CV.
A recent survey by Careerbuilder.co.uk found that nearly one-third of British employers said they spend one minute or less reviewing a CV so you have a very short time to smack them in the face with how tremendously employable you are.
After the Personal Profile some people place a Skills Profile on their CV and this section is particularly useful if you are trying to target your CV to a particular job role or industry sector. You need to work hard to ensure that you do not fill this section with clichéd CV detritus:
What Should A Skills Profile Look Like?
It is normally a bulleted list of skills, qualities and achievements that defines your suitability for the job. So remember: NO generic statements like this one:
….work well alone as well as part of a team (so does everyone!)
So let us imagine that you are applying for a job as a trainee estate agent. You would be striving to ensure that your CV is aimed at this specific job role. Our bullet list might look something like this:
Able to work under pressure and meet sales targets
Proven negotiation and sales skills
Strong business sense
Good organisational and time-keeping skills
A friendly, trustworthy and professional outlook
We would lift all of this information from the advertisement for the job or from the job description or the person specification for the role or all three of these things! If you are still struggling you could use career profiles for useful phrases and keywords to make your CV industry specific.
Remember, if your CV is not targeted to the role that you are applying for don’t even bother applying.