The key to building a strong CV is to have high quality content, and yes that means not only building up your education qualifications but also adding solid work experience as well. It is more likely you will gain employment through referrals while in work, than searching for jobs while unemployed.
It is not so important as to what that work experience is but those graduates who have work experience vs those who do not are more likely to secure that dream first job.
There are many ways you can gain work experience including;
- Internships (Awesome way to build your CV)
- Part-time employment (After hours or weekend work)
- Volunteer work
If you have plenty of work experience I recommend you concentrate on the last five years and write plenty of good information about this experience as you can. I like CV’s that show who you are personally – I absolutely believe People hire People, so personality whether we like it or not counts.
If you find yourself in between jobs stay active, volunteer and build on your networks.
CV – The Basics
1) Personal Statement – write one that really provides the reader an insight into you, what you want to achieve and how you intend to go about this.
2) Education Details – focus on the qualifications you have that the employer you are targeting would really be interested in.
3) Work history – More details on the last 5 years with emphasis on the sort of work you are keen to do, showing in your CV you have the experience to add value.
Your work history should include a heading with the following detail for each position worked.
- Name of the employer (organisation)
- Your position or title
- Dates you worked there, including months and years i.e. June 2003 to August 2009
In terms of content, mention clients you worked for or projects you worked on and be very clear on what you personally acheived.
4) References -The more meaningful they are regarding the type of work you are looking for the better.
5) Personal Interests – Here is where you can show off your other interests and hidden talents?
6) A professional photo that shows how well you present yourself, I prefer photos like Hamo’s below that are more than just head shots. A photo turns your CV into a personal profile.
NB: This probably goes against what other people may tell you, simple close up headshots from your PC or photos that are not flattering should be avoided. If you can invest in a professional photographer – do it.
When sending your CV be sure to tailor your email (or letter) to highlight where your experience, skills and/or qualifications match the role or how you feel you can add value to the organisation.
Remember it really is about the content and the best advice I can give you is gain the relevant experience, skills and qualifications through the tips above to give yourself the best CV you can. Many recruitment systems use key words, as do sites like Linked In so be strategic about what you want to highlight and what jobs the CV is targeting to ensure you get the best results.
Start building your CV by joining JobCafe this system will help you build a high quality CV which you can download at anytime. If you think you have done an awesome job then you can let JobCafe promote you through our JobCafe/Available-now marketing service.
Either way aim high and create your own good luck.