5 Tips for a Winning CV

Right from day one Kilkenny Campus Maynooth University students know they must work at putting together a CV that will open doors for them. Unemployment in Ireland is at 6.6%, the lowest rate since 2008. Good news all round but there is still a lot of competition on the ground for jobs.

The recruitment process for most positions is quite onerous and not just for the more senior roles. At a recent talk on campus, Maynooth University’s Career Development Centre, described the recruitment process for most companies as “weigh, slice and dice”. It is a very competitive space so having a winning CV is a key step to ensuring you get face time with a prospective employer.

So what does a good CV look like? Here are 5 key things you should be doing:

  1. Open with a brief summary of who you are and what your area of expertise is. There will probably be lots of CVs on the employer’s desk. Make sure yours stands out for the right reasons.
  2. Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. Many companies use filtering software to scan CV’s so use keywords to highlight your skills and educational background and show the employer why they should be considering your application. Qualify your achievements with action words, such as ‘increased sales/income/membership’ or ‘reduced expenses’. If you can include figures or percentages all the better.
  3. Don’t include your life story. There is no need to state your age, marital status or physical appearance. Hobbies and interests should be career related if at all possible.
  4. In terms of CV presentation, choose simple classic fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman.Stay away from fancy backgrounds, passport photos, pictures and graphics. These can make your CV unnecessarily busy and difficult to read.
  5. Proofread and proofread again. There is nothing more off-putting than going through reams of badly written CVs full of careless mistakes. It displays a lack of attention to detail and will most likely lead to your CV being removed from the process.

Remember, we all have to start somewhere so don’t let a lack of work experience put you off creating a good CV.  Make the most of the qualities you have. Highlight your skills, potential and enthusiasm. For those still in education or just about to embark on their first job post qualification, show potential employers the skillset you have built up. As a student, you are constantly organising your workload and working to deadlines, developing your writing skills, researching and evaluating sources, leading or participating in discussions, proposing ideas and theories and thinking creatively. These are all key attributes valued in the workplace.


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