To be clear from the start of this article, your CV is vital if you want to get the career you deserve. As a candidate, your CV is your calling card and one of the employer’s reference points throughout the process of employment and beyond. So, it goes without saying, it should be an accurate summation of who you are and what you can do. Under no circumstances, therefore, should you ever lie on a CV. Sadly though, this does occasionally happen.
When you think about the potential consequences of even just being a bit economical with the truth on a CV, it tends to make you wonder why people do it. Of course, the main reason is simply that they desperately want to impress a potential employer. That is very understandable, but there are other, much safer, ways to improve your CV without risking getting into hot water such as disciplinary action or even dismissal.
Keep your CV up to date
- Regularly review your CV – even if you are not actively looking for a job. Updating your CV as you gain new skills and experience will result in something that is far more accurate than a document created in a rush because you suddenly need it. Rushing out a revision of your information when you haven’t looked at it for months can very easily result in mistakes and a badly constructed document. You don’t need to do it every week, but perhaps four times a year or maybe every couple of months would be good. Add it to your calendar or as a reminder on your phone, so you don’t forget.
- Remember to adjust your CV when things change. If you take any training or learn a new skill, make sure you add it.
- Remember the basics. You would be surprised how often candidates forget to change telephone numbers or even add their current role to a CV so include a quick ‘basic information’ check to your reviewing process.
- It never hurts to do another spelling and grammar check!
Being certain that the contents of your CV are accurate should mean that you can be confident about producing a targeted revision of your basic document if needed. You may be wondering why you would need to do this though when you have already created a good reflection of your skills. The answer is simple, and it is basically what we said earlier. You want to impress the potential employer.
Target your CV
Imagine you are reading your CV for the first time, but in relation to the information you have on the job you want to go for. Believe it or not, we often see CVs where the candidate has almost hidden appropriate skills, experience or training for a job by burying them in other information. That regularly updated CV you created is great as an overview, but before you apply for the job you should target it.
- Bring relevant experience and skills to the foreground. As simple as it sounds, when you list your relevant skills, make sure the right ones are at the top of the list and that the employer can easily see the job-related content.
- Expand and explain. The employer does not want to read through reams of descriptions of irrelevant information, so make sure you think about what the employer is looking for and try to find ways of demonstrating how you have those skills. Essentially, don’t just say you can do something, give examples of where you have done it.
- Think about the amount of time you expect to be in the job and what that could mean for your career progression. Employers like to see you are thinking about the future, so talk about skills you want to develop as well as those you have.
- Ditch the slack and emphasise the important things. Try assessing the content of your CV by relevance to the specific job. Grab a piece of paper and try rating your skills from 1 – not relevant, to 5 – required for the job role. The higher the number, the more it should be in your CV and placed in context where possible.
Even if you miss out on this job, every time you create a targeted CV, you are honing your skills in impressing the employer, and that will almost certainly pay off in a job role you really want. Keep it truthful and make it focused, is the best advice.
As always, we are happy to help you in your search for the perfect role so just drop us a line, give us a call, or pop in and we will be happy to chat things through with you.