The importance of a good cv and how to make your first impression count.
When it comes to applications you surely have received tons of advice from various people.
And probably many among them have told you the most important thing you have to do is to have a great cover letter to get the attention you want.
Of course a good statement is much better than a bad one.
However, against common belief, your letter is step 2 during your application process.
And you surely won’t make it to step 2 without having accomplished step one successfully.
People in HR get many motivation letters every day: good letters- and not so good ones, creative- and non creative ones, interesting- and not so interesting ones.
So naturally, they do not have the time to go through all the letters they receive.
First, they will always check your CV to get an idea whether or not you meet the requested qualifications.
Only if they think you do they might consider reading your letter.
No matter how good your cover letter is:
if your CV doesn't stand out, your letter won't matter.
Why is that?
Your CV is the most important tool you have: it gives people an insight into your life.
It shows both your business and personal growth, the career steps you have taken so far and it also allows a look into the future to the next possible career steps.
Additionally, many people put in information regarding their family background or hobbies- all important facts for people in HR to decide whether they see you in their open position or not.
So be smart and put all the energy you have into a great CV first.
Before you start you should always read carefully through the job announcement.
Look at the job profile and ask yourself if you really want that job and why.
Then look at the candidate profile and consider whether you meet the qualifications or not.
Don't just apply "for fun".
Having decided you really want the job and it is a realistic next career step for you, what does a good CV look like?
Choose a design that is an eye-catcher but simple at the same time.
On the one hand you do not want to hand in just a boring looking white sheet of paper- on the other hand you should not use crazy colors or big icons that disturb the reader neither.
You could use some unobtrusive frame (maybe in the company’s color).
If you decide to use icons, e.g. a bicycle, also keep it simple and put it there where it will not distract the reader, or worse, where it would make your words hard to read.
If you decide to go for a more classical style (without color, icons, etc.) try to make it look elegant.
For instance use lines and play with size and type of your script. What you definitely not want to create is a monotonous list.
Monotony tends to seem much harder to read through (although the words might be the same) and you will lose the reader’s attention.
Choose your style and stick to it
Make sure your CV is consistent- no matter what style you choose.
Whenever you have developed a certain style, stick to it.
The perfect CV is a very individual and personal matter- what seems perfect to you can look weird to someone else.
So try to find your own design which you personally support 100%.
Confidence is important!
That is also the reason I do not want to focus on design too much but rather on common mistakes applicants do.
Next week we will share our insights for the perfect "personal information" section on your CV.
In case you'd already like to get started, here is a link for a CV Template.