Opinions vary when it comes to what constitutes a quality CV. Depending on who you listen to you will probably receive a variety of responses (some of which are likely to contradict each other – for example some people will tell you that it needs to be one page, whereas others will tell you that it should be three pages. Similarly, some advisers will advocate including an objectives section, whereas others will scoff at the mere suggestion.)
Opinions on the subject therefore vary widely.
The response of this article should hopefully be less contradictory, albeit somewhat more enigmatic.
So what is a quality CV?
A quality CV is one which does the job and gets results – not just once, but (with a bit of tweaking) over and over again.
Significantly, a quality CV is not a one trick pony. Yes, certain factors such as good presentation are important, but in the whole scheme of things even fundamentals such as presentation are still just one piece of the multifaceted dynamic jigsaw puzzle; and you are unlikely to land the job of your dreams with a well presented but poorly written CV.
Moreover, there are actually many other factors which need to harmoniously come into the equation if you want everything fitting together perfectly and firing on all cylinders. For example, the best CVs are presentable, legible, well-balanced, focused, relevant, and a good (concise) length. First impressions should be favourable and instant, and your CV should be enticing to read and engaging enough for the employer to keep on reading all the way to the end.
What you will need
It sounds all so easy. However, the reality is very different, and writing a ‘good’ CV is difficult enough, let alone a top quality one – which is why many thousands of job seekers each year engage professional writers to do the job for them.
Of course, not everyone wants to hire a CV professional writer, and if you want to create your own DIY CV then you will need to make sure that you do all of the following.
The most basic fundamental is ensuring faultless English spelling and grammar. If you are using MS Word then at the very least use the spell-checker. In addition to this you need to make sure that your CV format is attractive, so use a presentable template if need be. The best CVs say more in fewer words, so if your CV is on the long side then refine it down to 2 pages maximum. Clutter is a big turnoff, so use bullet points where appropriate (and if at all possible use single line bullets because this helps another important factor – legibility).
Other tips include making sure that your CV looks balanced rather than one-dimensional, ensuring that the content is relevant, and that you are creating your CV with the employer in mind.
Possibly the most important factor of all is how you sell yourself – and you really need to sell your skills and achievements to the maximum.
Of course, you may well be wondering how can you sell yourself the maximum when you are keeping the size of your CV in check and also refining achievements down to single line bullets rather than multiline entries.