1. Understand the audience
You need to understand the audience that is likely to read the CV. For example, if the recruiter is loooking for a menial hourly job, there is no point sending a lengthy and descriptive cover letter, because he or she is not going to spend time reading and understanding it all. On the other hand, it is not good to avoid sending a cover letter altogether either.
2. Understand the recipient
You should know if your CV is going to the company directly or to a recruitment or placement agency. If it is the latter, then send a small email introducing yourself and the position for which you are applying. When you are writing a cover letter for an agency, there is no point using the phrase ‘your company’ either, but it is useful when your CV is read directly by the company.
3. Use the right spellings
Now, you have to check your CV for any spelling mistakes and typos. These two are the Achilles’ heel for any job applicant, because most recruiters never look twice at CVs with grammatical errors.
4. Use the right style
The first rule in ensuring that your CV has the right style is to steer clear of bold colors or pictures unless you are applying for the position of a graphic designer or other related roles. A bit of color may seem like a good idea to make your CV unique, but it is distracting for a recruiter. You should also use bold, italic, and underlined text only in the necessary places. Use subheadings, headings, and bullet points to make your CV more organized and easy to read.
5. Focus on the most relevant details
When you are including your skills or experience in your CV, you should focus on the most relevant ones for the job for which you are applying. Alternatively, you can focus on the most recent skills and experience you got and keep others to a minimum. You should also avoid using first person for writing previous job descriptions because it makes your CV a tad informal. You can also look at resume examples online to get a better feel about what is relevant and what isn’t for the particular job you are applying for.
6. Add links to online profiles
If you have a profile on LinkedIn, you can add a link to it on your paper CV. However, you should avoid copying an image of your profile page and pasting it onto your CV. Believe it or not, people do this, and such resumes are almost always rejected.
7. Use the right file format
If you are sending your CV through an online application or email, you should check the format of the document. Many recruiters prefer to read CVs in PDF or Microsoft Word file formats. Others prefer to read CVs pasted in the body of the email to avoid downloading attachments. Remember to check what the reader’s preferences are before emailing your CV.
8. Read the job description
Your CV has to be tailored according to the description of the position for which you are applying. For example, the CV you send for the position of an accountant or bookkeeper will be markedly different from the CV for the position of a sales rep. If you are sending your CV to a recruitment agency, you may just get suggestions for tweaking your CV, so use the knowledge well.
9. Write about your skill-sets
Your CV should include relevant details about your abilities. Non-native speakers are often multi-lingual, which is a very useful and important skill. However, most people tend to under-emphasize this skill. If you are multi-lingual, you should not only mention the languages you know, but also your proficiency in each language. Write down whether you know how to read, write, speak, or do all three in each language that you mention.
10. Write your contact information
Do not forget to write your email address in your CV, but avoid using email address that have a vulgar, crude, cutesy, or informal username. No recruiter will be impressed with such usernames, even if you have used the same email address for several years. You can set up another email account with a sensible and formal username in just a few minutes. Your email address only has to have your first and last name.