A good curriculum vitae is vital when looking for a new job, so what should it contain and how do you make yours stand out? Follow our top tips to help you to prepare your CV and give yourself the best chance possible at getting the job you want.

The time and energy you spend in preparing your CV will pay dividends when it comes to getting noticed and helping you to stand out among the many applicants that may be challenging you for that dream job.

The objective of your CV

A CV is an outline of your educational and professional history and is, in a nutshell, your own personal Sales and Marketing document. Its purpose is to promote you and highlight your credentials in the most positive way possible (within the context of the position you are applying for) and the time and effort spent preparing your CV will pay dividends when it comes to helping you to stand out among the many applicants that may be challenging you for that dream job.

In preparing your CV, bear in mind that it should have two objectives: to gain you an interview and to help form the basis for the interview discussion and flow of your meeting with your potential new employers.

How to stand out

It’s important to always keep in the back of your mind that your CV will more than likely be one of many that the employer will be reading. So, how do you make yours stand out?

  • Your CV must catch the reader’s attention early when being read, ideally in the first half page of reading.
  • Make it relevant to the role and Company that you are applying to and when outlining your experience emphasise your major achievements that reflect the position being sought. For example, if you are applying for a sales or marketing position, emphasise examples of where you have demonstrated persuading, influencing, results, listening, negotiating or relationships skills.
  • Research the Company you are applying to and establish a view of its culture and way of doing business. Is it aggressive? Does it operate in a competitive area? Does it have a collaborative approach to its clients? Does it provide thought leadership? Is it a new or established business? Is it in the Creative sector? Again, where possible seek to reflect this view when outlining your experience and major achievements and consider both your past work, educational periods and personal interests such as sports as examples of these. This will help you to stand out as the right person for the job.

What should your CV include?

Don’t get carried away when preparing your CV, focus upon the key areas that will be of most interest to your prospective employer and most relevant for the role / company you are applying for.

The key areas to include when preparing your CV are:

  • A professional and personal summary, remembering always to emphasise only the relevant aspects.
  • Work Experience – include a summarised list of your work experience, with your current position first. Highlight the key, relevant achievements and show results, do not merely list the tasks of previous roles.
  • Qualifications and Education – Show your degree, subject and university, your secondary education school and list of achievements and your professional qualifications, if any, ensuring that relevancy is considered.
  • Personal Interests – only show interests that reflect well on your personal traits and that are likely to be of interest to a future employer.
  • Contact Details, including your LinkedIn profile.
  • References – a note that professional and/or personal references are available should be sufficient, but do make sure that these can be produced if and when required.

Be concise, positive and check, check and check again!

  • Your CV must be clear and concise, well laid out, easy to read and should be no longer than two A4 pages
  • Correct spelling and grammar is essential – nothing will turn a prospective employer off quicker than grammar or spelling mistakes in your CV!
  • It should present a positive impression of you – highlighting your strong points, strengths and emphasising your individuality wherever you can
  • BUT keep it accurate and honest – dishonesty will be uncovered!
  • It’s useful to prepare both a paper copy and an electronic version either in a PDF or MS Word format and use a standard business font such as Arial. Variations to this may be appropriate to this however, if applying for a creative position, or to work in a young and/or energetic business, so know the company you are applying to.

And finally…

  • Check that your social media permissions are secure or ensure that the images and your posts are something that you are happy for a potential employer to see – they are likely to be checked.
  • Ensure your email address is of a professional or neutral nature – it does reflect an impression of you!
  • Always send a covering letter or email when forwarding your CV. This gives you a further opportunity to impress and to stand out from the crowd.
  • And never send bulk dispatches of your CV by email to multiple Companies – do it individually and remember to ensure that the CV and covering letter reflect the specific Company.
  • Make use of the knowledge and experience of the recruitment agency you’ve registered with and ask for feedback on your CV. Recruitment consultants may see thousands of CV’s each year, so they will be able to help you to ensure yours stands out.

So, that’s it! If you follow all of the above, you should be well on your way to producing a CV that will help to you secure your dream job.

Wishing you the best of success in your future career! If you would like any free and confidential advice on achieving the career of your dreams in the Animal Health, Agricultural, Equine or Pet industries, please do get in touch.