New Year, New Job - tips on how to improve your CV 3 years ago

New Year, New Job - tips on how to improve your CV

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A good CV is a good start.

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In a highly competitive jobs market, it's vital you have a good CV alongside a strong cover letter. Even if a cover letter has not been requested, it's always a good idea to include one along with the CV.

The goal here is to give whoever reads both documents the best understanding of who you are professionally. If ever there is a time to tell everyone how good you are then this is it! You need to let employers know what you can do and why you are the perfect person for their job.

Cover letter tips

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It's an opportunity to add information that doesn’t fit into a CV.  As well as that, it will help to give your application a bit more ‘personality’.

When doing your cover letter, make sure you stick to the facts about your achievements.

  • Show evidence of your abilities: Pick at least 3 of the qualities mentioned in the job application and briefly refer to them in your cover letter.

  • Discuss the Company: Research the company then mention the aspects of what it does that impresses you the most.

  • Keep it Short: There is no need to go beyond a single A4 page because unless the application is for a managerial/executive position, the recruiter won’t go past page one anyway.

  • Send as a PDF: Every computer can open a PDF file without the need for conversion.

  • Personalise (if possible): If you’re smart you’ll perform the necessary research to find out who you’re sending the application to. “Hello Mr. Johnson” is much better than “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam.”

  • Proofread: Don't fall down at the first hurdle by having a number of spelling and grammatical errors. It just looks unprofessional.

  • Stick to the Point: Rather than focus on activities and tell the company about your love of bowling, look for ways to align the company’s values with your own.

CV tips

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Keep it relevant to the job you are trying to get.

When putting together your CV, always bear in mind that this should act like a sales brochure to your experience,  abilities and education. It is not an excuse for you to tell your life story.

Just like with a cover letter, you need to stay focused on the goal. Your application is likely one amongst dozens, so keep it snappy.

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  • Keep it to two A4 pages: Most hiring managers tend to ‘skim’ the content and have to read a host of applications. If he/she is confronted by a CV spanning several pages, it will end up in the bin.

  • Proofread: Again, just ensure there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes.

  • Show that you understand the Job Description: By carefully reading the job description, you can avoid wasting time by applying for jobs you have little chance of getting.

  • Show your value: Include key skills relevant to the role; they may include Teamworking, Problem Solving and Communication skills. When it comes to your interests, add examples where you worked as part of a team. For instance, you may have worked for your college’s newspaper or been involved in a local GAA team.

  • Make the most of your experience: You should focus on your most recent 2-3 positions unless you have older jobs relevant to the position you’re applying for.

  • Keep your CV updated: You need to keep your CV updated on a regular basis and add new experience or skills as you achieve them.

  • Add references: Try to get your references from past employers as they can back you up when it comes to skills and experience. If you haven’t worked before, use a teacher or a tutor as your reference. Most employers want two references.

  • Create your CV for the search engines too: An increasing number of people are applying for jobs through online sites. In this instance, you need to include keywords specific to the industry and the role you’re applying for in order to ensure the search engine picks you out from the crowd.

Find your perfect job from the thousands available on Jobs.ie right now. You’ll find vacancies from companies of all sizes and sectors in every part of Ireland.  Your next job is waiting for you. Start your job hunt now. 

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