Six best ways to refresh your CV for 2014 [MUST READ FOR EVERY JOB SEEKER IN NIGERIA]
Develop a ready-to-go CV
Be prepared to move quickly when you see an interesting vacancy advertised. Do your research now into companies that you’d like to work for and make sure you weave in evidence of your qualities or values that align with the potential employer’s. Including the right keywords, jargon and even phrases that the employer typically uses are also ways to make yourself more relevant.
Create different formats of your CV
A prospective hiring manager or recruiter might not view your CV on a laptop. Make sure it can be easily read on other devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, and that you’ve got a text version for application forms or for uploading onto job board databases.
Be flexible with the style and layout too. While a traditional-looking CV will be expected in certain industries, you might stand out with a more unconventional layout in creative sectors. Here are some visually interesting templates for inspiration. You can also be more creative with paper CVs that you hand over in meetings with prospective employers.
Include some social proof
Many potential employers will check you out on social media. Enhance your appeal by including evidence of your professional reputation and showing that you’re contributing to industry debate and discussions.
Put your LinkedIn url on your CV in your contact details area and consider including a section to paint a picture of you as an engaged professional – something along the lines of “Industry profile” might work well. This is where you can mention the LinkedIn groups or industry blogs where you are active, your membership of professional bodies and show that you’re up-to-date with current trends and debates.
Dedicate some time to your social media activity. There’s little point sending someone to your profile or blog if you haven’t completed or updated it. If there’s very little about you online, start creating a presence now. Write Amazon reviews of industry-related products, create a Google+ profile, or make presentations, white papers or case studies available for people to view.
Make sure details the match; employment dates and job titles should be the same on your CV and LinkedIn profile, for example.
If you’ve held different jobs or worked in a range of industries, you’ll probably have more than one area of expertise. But your CV must be customised to the role you’re applying for. Find a common thread so that you can position yourself confidently for that role. For example, if you’re applying for a customer support role, find all instances of customer support experience throughout your work history and ignore the less relevant details. Take out information that dilutes that message or which could confuse the hiring manager.
Keep it brief and relevant. Avoid going off message with long, unfocused lists of skills without any supporting evidence.
Prove that you’ll be a good return on investment
Decide what makes you stand out. You can include a short branding statement under your CV headline and back it up with examples of achievements within each job listing. If you have a longer career history, putting in a “Career Highlights” section before your work history can be useful.
Ideally, your return on investment should dovetail with the role requirements, such as having a global outlook or excellent technology skills. You may also need to spend some time brushing up on key skills or knowledge before applying for the job.
Improve your cover letter
Cover letters aren’t required in all industries and some recruiters might not read them, but in some sectors a cover letter helps to pre-sell your application. It’s a good place to put information that isn’t necessarily on your CV, such as the reasons why you’re applying and any background information that could be important, such as an impending relocation.
If you do write a cover letter, make it succinct, relevant and enthusiastic. Two to three paragraphs is normally enough to highlight some of your key selling points, such as your experience and strengths, and to communicate your interest in the company.
It doesn’t always need to be in paragraph form. As your letter might be skim-read, three bullet points instead of a text paragraph can be effective.
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