Natalia Veretenyk is the Lead Product Designer at KPMG as well as one of our teachers on the UX/UI Design Course. Follow her on LinkedIn to get more insights on user experience. This blog is about how to use your design skills to express yourself.
Rule number one is there are no rules. There are no official rules for what a CV should look like. Your CV is a summary of your personal and professional attributes that proves why you’re the right candidate for a job.
Your CV is your first contact with employers. It’s often the first impression you get to make with prospective employers. Your CV should persuade potential employers you’re the right candidate for the role.
Employers Want to Know…
• Who you are
• What you have done
• Why they should hire you
• Employers might ask for an online form, CV, cover letter, video intro, and reference.
90% of recruiters will check your social media presence to learn more about you.
Don’t forget about your digital footprint. With a service such as deseat.me you can clean up your online presence and delete the ones you are not using.
Who You Are
A CV is a summary of your personal and professional attributes that proves why you’re the right candidate for a job. But first, take a moment to reflect on what you want from your new role.
First: define what your dream job looks like and what kind of company you want to work for.
Second: identify the skills you have to offer.
Discussing your strengths can be one of the most difficult parts of the job interview.
Think About Your Top 3 Strengths
Why did you choose them?
What can you do with them?
How might you highlight them in your CV?
Keywords for strengths to use in your CV: enthusiastic, self-motivated, analytical, dependable, dynamic, enjoy helping people, focused.
What You Have Done
Highlight your greatest professional accomplishments. If you are new to an industry, take a personal achievement at university or a volunteering role that can demonstrate your great communication or problem-solving skills.
What did you do?
What did you achieve?
How does this relate to the role?
Also, you can include other experiences such as volunteering, certifications and hobbies. Organise your previous experiences into a story and tell your professional journey.
Build a CV
There are no official rules for how a CV should look but there are key points a CV should include: opening summary, work experience, education and/or achievements, key skills and your contacts.
- “Contacts” should include name, address, phone number and email.
- An opening summary is 2 or 3 sentences describing who you are and what you have to offer. Sell yourself and be human.
- Work experience. Highlight your greatest professional accomplishments. Follow the next structure: company, job title, dates, key projects & results, and include volunteer work if relevant. Most recent at the top.
- Education/achievements. Write your academic & professional qualifications. Follow the next structure: qualification, dates, grades, key projects/research. Most recent at the top.
- Key skills. Answer the question, “What are you great at?” and link the answer directly to the new role. Prepare to explain your skills and give examples in an interview.
Keywords for skills to use on your CV: HTML/CSS, community management, graphic design, complex logistics, stock management, etc.
Three Main Principles for CV:
Clear and simple layout
No more than two sides of A4
Tell employers what they want to hear
Best practices: Use a modern font that’s easy to read and avoid Comic Sans. Stick to one font throughout. Use a large font size for headings. Do not use coloured fonts or paper. Go easy on the bold italics and underlining. Check for spelling errors and typos. Add the most relevant and recent information. Share the CV in PDF format.
Did you know that on average 118 people apply for a given job and only 20% of applicants get to the interview stage?
Write a Cover Letter
A cover letter is a front cover you send with your CV. The cover letter helps present yourself and summarise what you offer. Avoid repeating what you’ve already said in your CV. A cover letter is less than CVs and includes 6 blocks:
- Starting strong. For example, Hi, Hello, Dear
- Introduction: who are you and what are you interested in, what role you are applying for, and where you heard about the vacancy.
- Summarise yourself: what is important to you, what you are good at, and what you enjoy. Alternative ways to sell yourself are “my values are…”, “I pride myself…”, “I have proven myself to be”
- Problem vs. solution. Based on your experience, give examples of the solution for challenges in the role.
- Relevant achievements: certificates, volunteer experience, achievements, languages, skills, hobbies, and interests (if relevant to the job), link to your website.
- Sign off your letter with a clear next step, for example “I look forward to hearing from you” or “Please let me know if you would like any more information”.
How long should your letter be? Keep it to one page, from four to six paragraphs, and add only the most relevant and recent information. There’s no magic number but likely around 300 words. It depends on the job and the level of detail they need.
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