At Axcis we want to help you find the perfect job. It’s not just about seeking out the right role, but the right team and organisation, too. When you consider that the average full-time employee spends more of their waking hours with co-workers than with friends and family, it is easy to see why being in a job which fits you is so important. At Axcis, we want to do our bit to help you in the quest for your perfect position – the first step is to have a great CV! Here are 10 steps to getting your CV ship-shape.
Before we go any further, always have in the back of your mind that a CV should be a sort of “trailer” for you – so imagine you are a film and make sure all the best bits are included – but not everything – nobody likes a movie trailer which contains all the spoilers for the film! But it should make others want to go and see it (or in this case – meet you!)
- Make sure your CV follows a clear structure – This can be something simple like:
- Personal Statement
- Hobbies/Charity Work
- Stick to a very simple, clear and straightforward design. Contrary to popular belief, complicated formatting won’t usually win you any points with employers (unless perhaps you are applying for graphic design roles).
- Choose a clear, legible font. Stick to one or two fonts and one or two font sizes – NEVER reduce the size to a point where it is difficult to read, just to fit more onto the page – it’s a myth that your CV should fit on a certain number of pages. Any length is OK as long as it is relevant. Although there is no problem in using bold fonts, be sparing in the use of italics – some software can be fooled by italics. Avoid underlining for the same reason, and under no circumstances use black – or indeed any other colour – boxes with white text in them. The same goes for shadow, outline and any other of those bizarre typestyles that Word allows you to use.
- When writing your personal statement, keep it to about a paragraph – prospective employers do not want to spend hours reading your CV so ensure everything you write is relevant. Try to give a taste of who you are as a person, as well as what makes you a super employee. Remember, you are selling yourself, so if you can’t tell people what’s great about you, nobody else will (unless they apply for your references, but this won’t usually happen unless you are selected for an interview!)
- Follow this with a summary of your qualifications and work experience – detailing dates, your duties as well as achievements for each position you have held. Don’t forget to include anything you have done over and above the call of duty – this shows you to be a dedicated employee, and is possibly the most important element in this section. If you are a newly qualified teacher, list your teaching placements as if they were jobs – this will give you more of an opportunity to demonstrate what you did while you were there.
List qualifications and work experience in reverse chronological order. Starting with the most recent and working your way backwards. This is because you want prospective employers to read your most relevant, recent experience first – not the bar job you had when you were at college! However, if your most recent experience is irrelevant to the position you are applying for, you may choose to list “Relevant Experience” before you list your “Other Experience” – each section can then still be listed in a reverse chronological order.
Add a section at the end for your personal hobbies and achievements out of work – this is essential to show them you are a person as well as potential employee. Include any sports, charity work, team activities and any other hobbies you might have. This can be fantastic as an opportunity to build rapport when you go for an interview. For example, you might be an avid rock-climber… if your interviewer also happens to enjoy this pursuit it can be a brilliant opportunity to have a relaxed chat around the subject and will make you a more memorable applicant, too!
- Read it back to yourself – is it clear and concise? Is it relatively easy to read? What typeface/size have you used? Should it be amended? If you can, print a copy! Make sure it looks as good printed as it does on screen and fits well onto the page.
- SPELL CHECK and make sure you have given the right contact details for yourself. Even the best CV is no good if the company you apply to can’t get hold of you because there is a mistake in your phone number!
- Give it to at least 2 friends to read and ask for feedback on structure/grammar etc. Even professional writers have a second pair of eyes on their work – this is because it can be hard to spot your own mistakes. And one simple error can lead to your CV ending up in the bin, so don’t discount the importance of this step.
If you need a CV template to work from, you can download one from the Axcis website.
Once you have your CV finished, don’t forget to send us a copy to update your file if you are registered with Axcis! And if you’re not registered but are seeking special needs teaching or support work, why not register today and see what jobs we can offer you?