In most cases, your CV is your first contact with potential employers, it provides the recruiters the opportunity to evaluate whether you, as the potential candidate, will be invited for an interview based on the skills, capabilities and experience you present in your CV. So, you want to make the first impression a good one. Below we share a couple of points to look out for when you compile your CV and before you submit it for a particular position.
Tips to keep in mind when compiling your CV
- Tailor your CV to the role that you are applying for
- When applying for a position, you need to adjust your CV according to the job specifications provided for that position. This will increase your chances of meeting the job requirements and being selected. It also personalises your CV according to the job specifications.
- Companies nowadays make use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in the recruitment process to save time. This tool allows recruiters to automatically scan through CVs and cover letters to search for certain key words to check whether the applicants meet the job criteria, for example, key words such as ‘leadership’ or ‘communication’. Therefore, it is advisable to use some of the key words used in the company job specifications provided when drafting your CV.
- Follow the application instructions on the vacancy advertisement
- Ensure that you follow application instructions provided by the company of interest when applying for a position, for example, “Please provide a two-page CV with two references”. Carefully following application instructions shows that you are able to follow simple instructions, and you are giving the company exactly what they are asking for. Recruiters will disregard applications that are not aligned with the job criteria.
- If the application instructions require a number of documents, ensure that your application is accompanied by all the required documents.
- Keep your CV short
- Recruiters are often inundated by the number of CV submissions. They also spend on average only 8 seconds on a single CV. As such CVs need to be kept brief and to the point. It is therefore important to keep your CV short, no longer than 2 pages, unless requested differently by the company.
- Put the most important information first
- You want to draw the recruiter’s attention to the most information first. This is usually your name and contact details, qualifications, and core competencies. It is important to include where you have gone above and beyond or where you have made a significant achievement.
- Make sure your CV highlights the key skills that employers are looking for
- List the skills and experience you have that are specific and relevant to the role which you are applying for. Highlight what you have to offer a law firm and your willingness to learn. Your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself.
- Make sure that your CV is accurate – lies on your CV may lead to dismissal
- Proofread it carefully, and ask someone else to check it
- Ensure that you check your CV thoroughly for any spelling and grammar errors. Perhaps even consider asking someone else to check it over for you as well. Imagine mentioning how detail-oriented you are and then leaving a glaring typo in your CV.