First job? What to put on your CV…

It can be a daunting prospect trying to secure your first full time position once you leave education. It is one of the largest hurdles in your life to date and how you go about it can affect you career path for the rest of your life. A big question millions of people have asked themselves is what to put on their CV? May you have just left school, college or university you need to find that balance between highlighting that you have just left education and trying to filling out your CV to look longer not just a list of grades?

Your CV is your chance to sell yourself to a future employee and how you word it can have a massive impact. Making it seem to relaxed and inform can put off a lot of hiring managers and recruiters as you can come across as someone who is looking to interact with them as a friend not as a professional. I’ve seen it on a number of CV’s from graduates who try to make their CV funny and entertaining – someone even put on what age they were when they mastered Lego and the use of verbs…! The short answer is funny doesn’t work. Everyone has a different sense of humour and one person’s joke is another’s turn off.

How you set out your CV can play a big part of helping details grab the hiring managers / recruiters attention. Trying to use a really flashy complicated layout will not work most of the time. This may be different if you are trying to secure a position within a creative industry but for sales and IT in particular this does not work. Before you start working on your CV you need to ask yourself what you are trying to convey.

  • What do I want to convey (my career objective)?
  • What are my core skill/competencies?
  • What are my major achievements?

The most important thing on your CV is your personal profile at the top, this is your moment to sell yourself and tell prospective employers what you can do and where you want to be.Personal statements that mention teamwork and good communication skills will help put the reader to sleep and your CV will instantly be dismissed. If you want to make it plain to the reader that that you are seeking your first career opportunity following leaving education you could start your personal statement with this fact: As recent graduate from X University, with a degree in… Your profile does not have to be long either – between 50 and 200 words works well for a well written statement and it is recommended to avoid writing it in the third person. You should look at breaking your person statement into three sections that will cover all of the information that the reader will be looking for:

  • Who are you?
  • What you can bring to the company?
  • Career aim

To gain the best impact for your CV read the job specification carefully and tailor your CV to suit the role requirements whilst remaining truthful to your skills and experience. Be brief, be honest, be open and sell your skills and aspirations…

  • Contact details on CV

Your CV is your sales pitch. Simple? So you might think. A key area that a lot of people do not give enough consideration to are the contact details you will provide. There are a number of different contact methods that can be listed on a CV but should you list them all and how?

The most important thing to remember is to only list those contact details that you can be got hold of at. Sounds obvious but the number of people who list an email address that they never check or a mobile number that is never switched on. If you list it you must check it regularly!

So what are the contact details that can be provided?

  • Personal mobile
  • Work Mobile
  • Home number
  • Home email address
  • Work email address
  • Home address
  • Other address – work or second home during term time if you are still in education

Out of these there are a couple that are absolute no’s for your CV and they are your work mobile and email address. Given the average environment of the office and companies’ ability to check employee’s emails, internet and work phone records your employer coming across emails between you and a future employer or recruiter will cost you big. One of the preferred contact methods is the personal mobile phone that can collect emails from a personal email address is the best way as it is possible to check during breaks and after work hours without leaving yourself exposed to the possibility of disciplinary actions.

The most important thing to remember is whatever contact deals you provides they must be ones you check and use. A significant number of people put down an email address they never check or a mobile number they never have on them or answer.

If you are serious about securing a new job, not being able to contact you may be the difference between your dreams job and your CV ending up in the shredder. No one can be available all of the time so even if you get back to the recruiter / HR person or hiring manager with an email or phone message to say when you would be free to talk this will raise your application straight back to the top of the pile.

So think… What contact details will you list on your CV?

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