How to create a professional CV
Updating or creating your CV? We spoke to CV expert Jo Hazlitt from CV Edge to understand the elements you need to include in your professional CV.
It’s easy to let your CV become outdated, or you may not even have one. Jo creates professional CV’s for everyone from school leavers, to those returning to work and CEO’s across a wide range of industries.
Her advice is one CV doesn’t fit all jobs; you need to tailor your CV specific to each job application.
“New Zealanders don’t know how to promote themselves, they are quite humble. My job is to promote their personality, experience and qualifications for the job they are targeting.”
Jo recommends the length of your CV should be 2 pages, “keep it short and to the point” and to use bullet points for clarity.
Within your 2 pages include the following information:
1. The Basics
Your name and your contact details. Sounds simple but ensure you have your correct contact number and email address.
TIP: No photos, no DOB or other personal details. Some employers may make judgement calls based on these details, so leave them out.
2. Professional profile
Grab a potential employer’s attention by summing up who you are as a professional, highlighting your individual qualities and skills.
3. Previous experience/work history:
- The company you worked for
- The dates you worked there
- Your position there
- A summary of your duties
- Start with your most recent experience first
TIP: If there are gaps in your CV for any reason, explain the reason behind this. You may have taken a year off to travel, or many years off to care for children or parents. Don’t leave the employer guessing.
4. Skills and keywords
Spell out what you are capable of, so it is easy for an employer to understand why they should speak to you further regarding a position.
Be aware that some businesses will use software to scan your CV so be sure to include relevant words – if you are unsure of what these words are, a job advertisement for the specific job you are interested in can hold the clues.
You may list these under your work history, but you do need to be specific.
TIP: Jo says you must “back up your statement with an example”.
Instead of saying “increased sales” say “increased sales by 70% by implementing welcome and follow up procedures used by all sales staff”.
Jo recommends to always include referee details so that a potential employer can verify details about your suitability for their job vacancy.
TIP: Referee details should be someone professional, do not include relatives.
“Palmerston North is a small town, a professional referee on your CV can add a lot of weight to a potential employer. Using the phrase ‘Referee’s upon request’ can often be too much of a barrier. You need to include referees contact details and make it easy for the potential employer to get in touch.”
Ideally this is your current employer, but it may be a previous employer, or a professional you have had business dealings with.
If you find you are struggling to pull your CV together or would like some professional help, contact Jo Hazlitt from CV Edge on 021 931 009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Jo makes a promise of a quick turn-around for your CV as quite often your ideal job vacancy comes along just when your CV needs attention. She can provide the advice and support to tailor a professional CV promoting your unique qualities, skills and abilities to a potential employer.