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Recruitment specialist Roy Duncan writes about how to make your CV stand out and what you need to consider when applying for a flexible or part-time role
CV tips are available from the internet in abundance, yet many of the thousands of CVs that I review over a year appear to have been prepared with little thought on how effective they will be in the marketplace. Indeed for better or worse, often the CVs tend to reflect the personality of the candidate! Are you giving recruiters the wrong idea?
Here are some simple ideas that can help you to build a CV and get you on to interview shortlists, including some specific tricks and tips you should think about when applying for a part-time or flexible post.
If you are an employer it may help to set the bar to decide which applicants are worth short-listing.
The first thing you need to consider is that your CV is a marketing document created to sell the person it represents. It must include the following information:
Having thought about what you have to offer, you will need to get all of this across as succinctly and clearly as you can. To do this use a standard format – easily found on-line – and adapt it to provide a consistent and easy to follow structure such as:
This approach will enable anyone who is reading your CV to understand quickly what you are about and whet their appetite. You now need to add some meat on to the bones:
For each job:
Education. Qualification, institute and date/s are sufficient. Avoid listing the whole course syllabus – unless you are applying for your first job
Skills and IT: Include Languages, software skills, training and CPD and courses etc.
Personal Details: Again keep it simple – if you do have an interesting hobby add it! I was once put forward for a job by an agent who spotted in addition to my relevant key skills that I attended drama improvisation classes – that drew attention to my application and differentiated me from other applicants
First of all, ideally no more than 2 or 3 pages. Secondly, The 3 S’s – Structure structure and structure! It is no good having all the skills and experience if your CV looks a mess. Here are a few simple tips:
It is okay to paraphrase, especially in list format; however make sure your style is consistent. Here are some helpful tips:
In the UK we consider part-time work to be less than 34 hours per week. Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics state that there are c. 8 million part-time workers in the UK, with the vast majority having chosen to work part-time. If you are in this category you may discover that finding a part-time job a real challenge. This may be due to:
So is there a magic formula you may ask. Not exactly! However a little background knowledge will go a long way towards opening the door.
Let’s just think for one moment; have you ever considered how challenging it might be for the potential employer? After all they want to find the right person who best fits the role. Often they will advertise the role, receive a large number of CVs only to find that most of the CVs don’t match the job description/ person specification!
Even worse, many applicants are really looking for a full-time job or intend to use the role as a stepping stone to get back into any employment.
This may sound basic, however like many things simplicity is often the key. The most important consideration to remember again is that your CV is a marketing document to get you the interview no matter whether the job is full-time or part-time.
So the purpose will be to enable the gatekeeper/employer to quickly see that you are an excellent match for the role. If you can do that you will be one of a small number who will be considered for the role. You need to include in your profile and/or covering letter the following information:
Before you send out your CV it is essential that you review it for errors in grammar and spelling and check it for ambiguities and inaccuracies. Ask a friend to review it. You must also review it for accuracy of dates, job titles and content. You must be prepared to discuss or support everything that is included on your CV. And vitally consider if you’ve tailored it to the role, especially for part-time or flexible work.
Once your CV has gone to the agency or client, it is a good idea to call them and “check” that they have received your CV and application. This will help to get noticed and gain an advantage over other applicants.
And hopefully my tips and suggestions will give you an advantage too! Good luck with your search
Roy Duncan is is an entrepreneurial chartered certified accountant with over 30 years’ experience in business, accounting and recruitment. He is owner of RG Duncan an independent, boutique, specialist recruitment consultancy.