Sections you might not have thought about including on your CV

There are many sections in a CV that most people would expect to see as standard.  For example, the personal statement, skills, career history and education/qualifications.

 

However, the reality is your CV is your opportunity to shine, and demonstrate why you are the best fit for the job you are applying for.  What you include is therefore entirely your choice.  The only thing that really matters is that it’s relevant, and demonstrates why you, at the very least, deserve to be invited for an interview.

 

What other headings could you include if you wanted to?

 

Languages

 

If you speak more than one language, you might want to include a separate section dedicated to outlining your skills in this area, rather than merely listing it under a skill.

 

You could explain, in a few sentenced, what level your knowledge and understanding is at, whether you have used it during your previous employment, and how you think it might benefit your potential employer.

 

Awards

 

Many people think that awards won during previous employment, certainly those that are awarded to whole teams, are irrelevant.  Whilst it’s true they’re not a full reflection on your ability alone, they do demonstrate that a team you worked in has achieved great things.

 

Explain what was awarded, when and by which organisation/body.  If you have space explain, briefly, how you contributed to the winning team.

 

IT Skills

 

Depending on your experience and the position you’re applying for, you might want to include a separate section on IT skills alone.  Are you a whizz at PowerPoint, know everything there is to know about Excel and Pivot Tables?

 

Try to only list things that would be relevant in the role you are applying for, so don’t list a host of web developing software you can use if this is never going to come up.

 

Professional development

 

Many people choose to study in their own time, and with the likes of online courses from Udemy, many of these aren’t necessary accredited, or result in a specific qualification.

 

However, it does all count.  Demonstrating that you are essentially self-taught in a particular field that will add benefit to your future employer, is never a bad thing.  Showing that you take in an interest in life-long learning, and have specific areas you are passionate about will stand you in good stead.

 

Voluntary work

 

Many people don’t think voluntary work should go on CV because it doesn’t form part of the “career”. However, it all comes under experience, and you are bound to have learnt something in every position you have undertaken, whether it is paid or not.

 

Talk about what you have done, what skills you developed or gained, and why you felt passionately about that particular cause to want to volunteer your time to support them.

 

 

Don’t forget, Time Saving Heroes offer CV reviews to help you get on the right track with your CV, as well a full CV writing and Cover Letter service.

 

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you make the best possible first impression, give us a call on 0161 883 2024, contact us via Facebook or Twitter, or drop us an email at hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk

What you should include on your CV

When people know they need to write a CV, or update their old one, they tend to panic.  The reality is it’s just a short document, all about you, so in theory it should be a piece of cake to write.  Right?

 

Well, that’s the problem with theory, it doesn’t always work out that way in practice.

 

You might be writing about yourself, but none of us are that good at promoting ourselves.  We are usually too self-conscious to really shout about our achievements, or we worry we go the other way and sound like we’re egotistical braggers.

 

It is a fine line, and it’s a tough one to walk at the best of time, without the added pressure of knowing your chance of being interviewed depends on you getting it right.

 

The other issue is that most people don’t automatically know what they need to include in a CV, or if they do, in terms of headers, they’re not sure what information really needs to be included.  That’s why we’ve pulled together this quick guide to help you out.  Follow it, and your CV will already be well on the way to being excellent.

 

Start with the basics

 

The most important thing about your CV is going to be your name and contact details.  Make sure these are right at the top of the CV, and are shown clearly.  There is no need to waste space writing “CV of John Smith” or “Curriculum Vitae”; people know what this document is, so don’t spell it out.

 

Do, however, make sure that your name is spelt correctly, that you use your actual name, not nicknames, and that your contact information is included.

 

With regards to contact information, add what you think is the best format for you. Don’t put a landline down if you never answer it, instead use your mobile number.  Do make sure that you have a voicemail facility activated as well in case you miss the call. A recruiter will leave a message.

 

You might also want to consider adding your LinkedIn URL to your contact information.  The reality is a recruiter is likely to search for you anyway, so make their job easier.

 

Personal statement

 

Whatever you call it (summary, profile, objectives etc), this is arguably one of the most important aspects of your CV.  Yes, your career history is vital, but this short paragraph at the beginning is going to let someone make an immediate decision on your past experience, and suitability for the job.

 

Your entire CV should be tailored for each individual role you apply for, but this is where you can make the most tweaks.  Do make sure you keep it short and sweet though, no more than a few sentences and explain:

 

  • Who you are
  • What you can offer the company
  • What your career goals are (and how this role could fit in to those)

 

Key skills

 

Recruiters aren’t known for their patience, mainly because they don’t have the time.  Therefore, adding a key skills section, where you can bullet point and really highlight your strengths, makes life significantly easier for them.

 

In here you can list things such as your technical skills, or you might want to go for more soft skills such as interpersonal or negotiation.

 

The key here is to ensure you are listing skills that the job description/person specification is looking for, so that you can tailor your CV to the role itself.  Of course, only include skills you actually have!

 

Career history

 

It is important you list your career in reverse chronological order, so the recruiter can see what you are doing now, first.

 

For each position state your job title, the name of the company you worked for and your dates of employment (month/year – month/year will suffice).

 

Then list, in bullet points, your main responsibilities and duties, along with any achievements you gained during your time.

 

You do not need to include a reason for leaving, or you starting/leaving salary.

 

Education and qualifications

 

Again, list this in reverse chronological order, and list the name of the institution, your dates of study, what you studied (subject and level) as well as grades achieved.

 

 

Don’t forget, Time Saving Heroes offer CV reviews to help you get on the right track with your CV, as well a full CV writing and Cover Letter service.

 

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you make the best possible first impression, give us a call on 0161 883 2024, contact us via Facebook or Twitter, or drop us an email at hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk.

Don’t make these mistakes when applying for a job

You’ve spent all day pulling together a winning CV and Cover Letter, and now you’re ready to send it off.

But, before you do, check out our 9 common pitfalls and things to avoid, otherwise, you may find yourself in the reject pile before you even get started!

#1 – What’s in a name?

Shakespeare might have waxed lyrical about this, but to each individual, their name is quite important. Make sure, when sending an application, you get the addressees name correct.

Mrs Smith does not want to be referred to as Mr Smith, any more so than Jonathan wants to be called Jonathon.

While you’re at it, make sure you proof your CV and Cover Letter to make sure you have spelt references to the company, their services, or products correctly. Spell check might not automatically pick up on these, or worse, might autocorrect them!

#2 – Spell check!

It’s worth saying it again, SPELL CHECK all your documents. Don’t just rely on your spell checker to do all the hard work for you, make sure you give your CV and Cover Letter a proper read through to make sure everything is correct, you’ve used the right tense throughout, and it makes sense.

If you can, ask a friend or family member to read over it too.

#3 – Great application, wrong employer

If you’re sending out a lot of applications in one go, make sure you are sending the right CV and Cover Letter to the right employer. We’ve seen it before where someone has sent a CV for a PA role to the recruiter advertising for a Social Media Executive (a role they also wanted to apply for).

#4 – Get attached

It’s easily done, and at some point or other we’ve all either done it ourselves, or know of someone who has – but when you are saying “please find attached …” make sure you actually attach the mentioned document.

Failure to do so will either get your application ignored, or at best, will create a bad impression of someone who is not able to pay attention to detail.

#5 – Get your formatting right

These days people open documents in a whole host of different formats, and there are countless version of Word out there. Make sure you save your CV and Cover Letter attachments as simple .docs so anyone can open them.

Don’t spend a lot of time creating a stunningly formatted document, especially as on some computers, mobiles or laptops this will be distorted. If you have got a highly creative CV you are best off sending it as a PDF.

#6 – Don’t forget your name

You don’t need to write CV or Curriculum Vitae at the top of your CV, people know what it is, but you do need to make sure that your name is clearly legible. You want that to be remembered.

Also take a moment to make sure that all the relevant, and correct, contact details are included so you’re easy to get hold of when they phone you to request an interview.

#7 – Get a new email address

If you’re a fan of cutesy email addresses, now might be the time to set up a new one. MissFrillyKnickers@generic.email.com is unlikely to create the impression you’re looking for.

Equally, don’t be disrespectful to your current employer by sending your CV for a new role from your works address. Yes, you might be sending it out of hours, but it still doesn’t look great.

#8 – Once more for luck …

Go on, give it another spell check and read over.

#9 – Press send

Don’t spend all that time writing, checking, proofing and tweaking and then talk yourself out of applying. Once you are happy with your content and its delivery, press send.

Good luck!

 

Remember, here at Time Saving Heroes we offer CV and Cover Letter writing services, as well as full reviews of your current CV so you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Give us a call on 0161 883 2024, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just drop us an email to hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk

 

How to target your CV

Unless there’s a specific application form to complete, your CV is going to be your only chance to explain to a recruiter why you’re perfect for the role they’re advertising.

 

That means your CV has to be amazing if you want to stand out from the crowd.

 

You’ve no doubt heard people say before that you need to target your CV for each specific role that you apply for, rather than sending the same generic copy out to every potential employer.  How though, do you do that?

 

Well, here are our top tips to get you started.

 

#1 – Your Personal Statement

 

We know it’s one of the hardest parts of a CV to write, but your personal statement is a great opportunity to explain what you’re about.

 

If you think of this section as a way of showing your motivations, it should be slightly easier to write.  For each application explain, briefly, why you want the job you’re applying for.  Make it clear why now is the best time in your career for making the change, and outline what your future aspirations are, and how this employer could help you achieve them.

 

#2 – Skills

 

Many people list their skills once, and never look back at this section again.  However, you need to think of this section as similar to keywords, and whatever you include should be what’s asked for in the job description (as long as you do actually hold those skills).

 

Look at what they have asked for, and think about what other skills might be useful to help you succeed in this role, and include them too.

 

#3 – Career history

 

Think again about the skills and the requirements for the role you’re applying for, and make sure you feature the same terminology in your CV where possible.  If you have done similar roles before, highlight the elements of the job that are the same, and showcase duties you have done in the past that are relevant.

 

If you haven’t done anything similar before, instead look at the transferable skills you have that might be an asset in the role you want.

 

#4 – Achievements

 

Adding any achievements within specific jobs you’ve done in the past is a great way to positively showcase what you are capable of.  Where possible use statistics and figures to back up your claims, and show how this relates to the role you want.

 

#5 – Qualifications

Draw attention to any qualifications, or courses you have had that meet the requirements of the specific position.

 

If you don’t have much in the way of formal qualifications, highlight any areas of interest you have, or additional learning you have done on your own time that would make you able to fulfil the role.

 

Remember, here at Time Saving Heroes we offer CV and Cover Letter writing services, as well as full reviews of your current CV so you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.  Give us a call on 0161 883 2024, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just drop us an email to hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk

 

 

New Year, New Job

With the start of a new year, many of us are feeling a renewed sense of optimism for the future. As a result, the new year often sees many people dust off their old CVs and start the hunt for a new job.
The good news is many employers will be looking to take on new staff in the new year, and may even have increased budgets to be able to fund this.
The bad news (there’s always some, isn’t there?) is that competition for positions is likely to increase at this time of year, as candidates flood the market.
How then, can you ensure you stand out from the crowd?
#1 – Update your CV
Rather than simply reusing the same tried and tired CV, take the time to fully update it now, even if you’ve not officially started your job hunting yet.
Take the time to think about what your responsibilities, duties and achievements have been in your current position. Add everything that’s likely to be relevant.
#2 – Think about why you want to change roles
Stop and analyse why you want to move positions, or employer. Is the commute getting you down? Do you think you deserve a larger salary? Have you exhausted all your options for career progression where you are now?
Whatever the reasons, write them down, and see which ones you can use to show your enthusiasm for a new career.
#3 – Tailor your application
When you do find a role that’s perfect for you, make sure your CV is tailored specifically to it. You should never just send out a standard CV, no matter how good you think it might be. One size does not fit all in this situation.
Look at what the job description or person specification is actually looking for, and make sure your CV demonstrates how you meet those requirements.
#4 – Send a cover letter
Start preparing your cover letter now, so you don’t have to sit staring at a blank page for hours on end as the deadline for applications looms.
Cover letters, like CVs, tend to follow a similar format, so you can get many of your thoughts and selling points down on paper long before you find the perfect role. As with a CV however, you will need to ensure you tailor it to meet the objectives of the position.
#5 – Do some research
If you’re serious about getting out of your current position, start doing some research for companies you might want to work for. See if they’re hiring, and even if they aren’t, consider sending a speculative application. At worst, they will no doubt keep your details on record for when they do start hiring again.
Keep an eye on the employers that interest you, so you will be in the best position to know when they do open their doors for the next recruitment drive.

 

Remember, here at Time Saving Heroes we offer CV and Cover Letter writing services, as well as full reviews of your current CV so you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Give us a call on 0161 883 2024, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just drop us an email to hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk