International Students House
Student Tips

Get The Job #1 – Get your CV right.

In February, we will be highlighting ISH’s value of excellence. To kick-off, we’re sharing our skills and experience with weekly tips on landing a job so we can pass our excellence on to you!

First up – get your CV right, get past the bots, and don’t lose a job because of a typo!

Forget all you think you know about writing a CV – things have changed. These days, more than 75 per cent of CV’s are read first by robots, so your main aim is to get past them. But how?

First, forget fancy and go for something simple – boring, even. Don’t use boxes, columns, tables, headers and footers, logos, or nonstandard fonts.

Next, change any weird job titles to something generic that robots recognise. Better still, if the employer is using specific job titles, you should use them, too.

Finally, write like a caveman. That means keeping your language clear and straightforward. This makes it easier for bots to summarise your CV. Studies suggest recruiters look at your CV for as little as 7.4 seconds – just enough time to check your qualifications. So clarity and simplicity are the way to go.

And how do you get the content right?

Well, first of all, get the basics in there: your full name, address, phone number, and email address. Include a summary paragraph if you have extensive experience or a CV longer than a page.

Next, detail your work experience. State where you worked – including generic job title, company name and location; what you did; and the impact you had – use numbers if you can. For example, don’t write, “sandwich maker.” Instead, write, “Made 1,000 sandwiches per week.” Your most recent job should be first. If you’re a creative, remember to include links to your portfolio.

Your education section should only include secondary school results if you haven’t completed any higher education. And when it comes to listing your skills, be precise about them, and include how long you’ve used them.

Be honest about gaps in your work experience, and own them. For example, if you were laid off, say so, and describe why. If you were fired, on the other hand, don’t mention it – get yourself past the bots first, and explain what happened in the interview. If you stayed home to raise children, try: “Changed 6,729 diapers”, for example, or “Reduced crying time by over 63 per cent.”

Finally, whatever you do, double-check your spelling and grammar. Get a friend to check it, too. Errors here scream; this person has poor attention to detail. Don’t lose a job opportunity because of a simple typo!

And yes, consider paying a CV-writing service. This is their job, and they’re specialists at it.

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