Are you reading this, slouched on your sofa still in your PJs after having scrolled through all your social media feeds twice before breakfast? Have you even brushed your teeth today?? Or are you just having a learning break after your morning routine of meditation, baking banana bread, window cleaning and crafting with the kids?
However you’re spending your time, you’ve got to make the most of it to do stuff you can’t normally do. Now is absolutely the time to tidy up the loft, train for a (Netflix) marathon, master sourdough, dye your hair pink (or shave it all off). But it’s also great opportunity to think about your career and whether you’re in a job you love.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the ideal to quit and go full-time job hunting but, while you are stuck here, looking after yourself and your home, you need to dedicate some of your free time to pamper your CV too.
If you look up ‘CV template’ you’ll find thousands of great (and not so great) templates to get you started. You’ll spend some time finding a great looking one page CVs and once you start copying and pasting your own experience into it, you’ll undoubtedly mess up the formatting, making it looking worse than it did before, and just give up having wasted two precious hours of ‘me time’.
Just don’t! Start from a blank page, figure out what you want to say and then you can make it look pretty.
The WHAT is the raw content, the facts if you prefer.
Here’s what you want to talk about:
- Who you are (your personal statement) and how to get in touch
- Your jobs (dates of employment, job titles, responsibilities and achievements)
- Your education (keep it relevant, no need to go back to primary school)
- Other stuff that makes you stand out (languages, skills, certifications, etc.)
Forget the look of it, forget the headings. Just make sure what you say is what you want to say.
Then there’s the HOW, how you can make the WHAT look good.
First, focus on the way you talk about yourself, how you structure your sentences. Are you more a ‘I did this and also that’ or a ‘Responsible for: – this – that’ kind of person? There’s no right or wrong, just make sure your tone is consistent through your CV and aligned to how you normally write or speak (that being said, I don’t swear as much on my CV – top tip here!)
Now, let’s talk about spelling… I haven’t joined the Facebook Grammar Police (yet) but nothing makes me cringe more than a spelling mistake on a CV of someone who lists ‘attention to detail’ as one of their key skills. Just ask someone who’s fairly good at spelling to have a look at your CV before you start firing it out.
And finally, we move onto my favourite part: formatting! Did you know that, on average, a recruiter will look at a CV for 6 seconds? First impressions count and how your CV looks will definitely play its part. Go back to your search and find a template you like and can realistically use. If you’re not great on a computer, opt for something simple and make use of different fonts or colours rather than invisible tables and fancy graphs to describe your skills. Whatever you go for, it must look harmonious, with all your dates in the same format, your bullet points aligned, fonts, styles, colours and spacing consistent from start to finish. When you’re done, zoom out so you look at the overall picture. Does it look right?
In the current climate (and, in my opinion, all the time), we can’t be 100% sure what will happen to our job or when we’ll have enough of it, so it’s better to be ahead of the game and always ready to apply for a new one.
You might not be using your new CV for a while or at all. Good for you! But if and when you decide it’s time to move on, you’ll just have to bring it up to date and voila! Job done.