How to tailor your curriculum vitae or resume template
There is no one “right” way to write and finalise a CV but these general rules always apply:
1. It is targetted for the specific role or industry for which you are applying and highlights the most relevant skills you possess.
2. It is carefully and neatly laid out, logically ordered, legible and not crowded.
3. It is insightful but concise.
4. It is free from grammar and spelling mistakes. If you note attention to detail as a skill, be sure your grammar and spelling is awesome.
In addition to these ‘musts’, these are our best strategies for personalising this template:
1. Keep adjusting
If your curriculum vitae is written the wrong way round on luminous green paper and it lands you regular interviews, why consider changing it? At the end of the day if it is producing results, don’t be too quick to meddle with what works. On the flip side, if it’s not working, ask people you know to look at it and offer their thoughts. Having said this, if you make use of the template on this page as your starting point, you’re unlikely to go far wrong.
2. Make it keyword friendly
If you’ve uploaded your CV to a job website so recruiters can find you, keywords are extremely significant. Job titles and job keywords will help the search engines lift your CV to the top. To find ideas for keywords, have a search on Google and find out which words are frequently mentioned when you put in your target role.
3. Short and sweet
Normally a curriculum vitae ought to be no more than two pages – and by that we mean two pages of A4 sheets of paper. Employers invest, on average, just eight seconds looking at each curriculum vitae, and a guaranteed way of landing your application on the rejected pile is to send them your whole life history. Maintain your CV punchy, concise, and save the detail for your interview.
4. Jazz it up
Image is everything nowadays, and it’s just as true for your CV. Make an effort to improving how the curriculum vitae looks, in addition to the content. Use bullet points where it makes sense to do so, and always keep sentences short. Make use of the graphic design trick of allowing enough of white space around your text and in between categories to make the layout easy to read.
5. Customise it
We’ve all done it. Sending an identical curriculum vitae to a bunch of employers to save time. Blanket messages give small results so don’t fall into this trap – make an effort to adjust your CV for every role that you apply for. Study the organisation and use the job posting to work out exactly just what skills you should show to them. They will recognise the patent effort.
6. Sell the numbers
Supporting your positive results with numbers makes selling yourself substantially simpler. When crafting your work history, don’t just claim that you boosted sales – inform them you raised sales by 60% over a six month period. Be specific.
7. Include your objectives
Never just believe an employer will understand how your experience relates to their role. Instead, use a short personal statement to summarise why you’re the perfect person for the position. This should be reflected in your cover letter as well.
8. Tell the truth
Outright lies on your CV can get you in a heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking out your references and background. The very last thing you want is to begin work and then lose your new role for lying. In addition, you could get found out during the interview stage when you all of a sudden struggle to respond to questions on what you have claimed to know. It’s never worth the hassle – don’t do it!
9. Never leave gaps without an explanation
Leaving obvious gaps on your CV instantly makes recruiters doubtful – and they will not give you the benefit of the doubt. If you’ve been out of the job market it can be a concern but just put a positive spin on it. Did you study for a course, do some volunteer work or build up soft skills such as communication or teamwork? If so, make it very clear. Don’t presume you’ll get the chance to explain at the interview – as the gaps may possibly deter them from giving you a chance.
10. Correct your errors
Recruiters do scour for errors on curriculum vitae and if they spot them, it makes you appear sloppy. With many employers encountering significant volumes of candidates these days, providing them the excuse to write off your application on account of preventable grammar errors and typos is not going to assist you to land an interview. Even if you really feel your grammar and spelling is excellent, use a spellchecker and ask another person to double-check what you have written – the ‘sanity check’.
11. Always keep up-to-the-minute
You should maintain your curriculum vitae up to date whether you are looking for a job or not. Each time something important happens in your career, record it so you don’t later forget something that may be relevant.