The CV is a necessary part of any application you make for a job, and it’s quite probable that you have one already.
However, not many people really consider what is its purpose or how it will be received by a potential employer, so we have put together a short guide to some points to consider when creating, or updating your CV.
The first thing to consider is that the CV is a marketing tool that is selling…you!
Whilst you could probably get away with a one size fit all CV, it would be much better to have your CV edited so that it is aimed at the particular business environment that you’re looking to join. In our case, it’s the estate agency industry and so it is worth considering using a version of your CV that displays your information, experience and skills relevant to employers in this particular industry.
This does not mean that the information will be any different; rather it will mean that you have extracted certain information that is more useful to employers in this industry. For example, will a potential estate agency employer be more interested that you were a member of the University Chemistry team in 1997, or that you were Salesperson of the Year in 2009?
Checkpoints (and all of the following examples used are from real life CV’s we have received)
Keep it ClearYour CV should be clear, concise and visually easy to read. Do not mess around with fancy fonts, colours or graphics. Most employers are busy people and they want to be able to navigate a CV easily and find the information that they are after quickly. Use a simple font (such as Arial, Verdana or Tahoma) and a font size between 10 and 12 (and not 72 as we once saw). Remember, this is a business document and the layout and look of it should reflect.
Keep it BriefYour CV is a tool, and not a vehicle for your ego. Do not fill it with information that although might make you feel important, is nevertheless largely irrelevant to a potential employer. For example, is it vitally important that a potential employers knows the full address and postcode of your primary school? Or the names and jobs of your parents?
Keep it Up to DateYour CV should provide completely up to date information about you, taking the reader to the present day.
Keep it RealDon’t be tempted to make stuff up. Sure, put a positive or glossy spin on something you might have done or achieved, and a bit of exaggeration here or there is simply human nature. However, at all costs resist the temptation to tell outright porkies. If you do manage to get a job then it will be based on your providing truthful information, and subsequent discovery of false information will likely be met with an immediate dismissal. And getting another job after being sacked for lying on your CV will be ten times harder.
Education & QualificationsFor this industry it is not especially relevant to list every single exam you’ve taken with the grade you achieved (unless for example, they are mostly A’s!) and a summary will suffice. Do list any qualifications that might be relevant to the estate agency industry, such as industry qualifications or property related or sales courses you’ve taken. Additional information such as languages, trade course you’ve attended, etc can be included here.
Explain Any GapsIf you do have any gaps between jobs in your CV, then put them in and give an honest explanation. There is the usual temptation to cover up a gap by pushing together the jobs before and after the gap, so as to create a seamless join. However, if you are successful and get a job your new employer will probably have to check on your employment history to comply with their employment insurance or for their financial services ‘introducer’ obligations. If the gaps are revealed then your are essentially exposed as a liar. We have had situation where a candidate has indicated on his CV that he was ‘travelling’ for a year. However, when this was challenged (by the interviewer asking to see his passport) it was discovered that the only place he travelled to that year was courtesy of Her Majesty’s Prison Service!
Job DescriptionFor each job you’ve had, write a brief description of your role there and what was involved. If you list a company or role that might not be recognised to somebody in the property field, then include a very brief outline of what the company does and your role within it. Summarise any achievements you made at the company and use numbers or statistics where possible (e.g. you achieved 125% of your annual target, or you improved profits by 30% - although be prepared to justify this if challenged!)
Hobbies and InterestsThis is the section of the CV that gives employers most laughs, and probably reveals more about you than the rest of the CV. Do not try and be clever here. Whilst in a business sense this information is not particularly relevant, it does go some way to show that you have some sort of life outside of work. Keep it brief and remember that whilst you may think admitting you enjoy “sewing and knitting”, or “drinking with my friends” might be honest, it will probably do you no favours with a potential employer. Nor will any mention of your pets, extreme sports or trainspotting (in fact anything to do with railways!)
ReferencesMake sure you have the name, address and telephone number of the appropriate people at your previous employers where references can be obtained. You don’t have to list them on your CV, but you will be expected to produce them if requested. Most companies (including us) will operate a policy where references will be applied for, for any candidate who is not in current employment. So if you are not working, have them ready.
Personal ProfileIf you decide to use a personal profile, try and be honest. A cocky statement such as “I am a very confident person with exceptional sales and leadership skills, and can honestly say that any company employing me should consider themselves lucky”, will do nothing for you. It will probably do you more harm than good, as it might suggest that you would to be an absolute nightmare to manage!
Better that you give an honest appraisal of what you are about. We are often willing to give more weight to a CV if the Personal Profile has a genuine frankness and honesty about it.
To give you some help, we have 3 different CV Template layouts available for you to download and use (in Microsoft Word format)
Obviously the information it contains is just made up to give you an idea of how to populate it, however you can replace this with your own details and then save them as your own.