A very happy new year folks!
I hope you are all as incredibly excited about this new year and decade as I am. Speaking of New Years, this time for us at the loft means our inbox starts to become full with CVs, cover letters and folios from students looking for internships or even graduates looking for their first full-time job. We’ve received hundreds, if not thousands, of these in the past, each with different levels of effectiveness, so we thought we’d share a quick guide to help those of you preparing your CV right now.
1. Know who you’re applying too
Before starting to prepare your CV, it’s worth taking the time to better understand who you’re applying too. A branding agency that has a fun people-focussed culture, a digital company which is always looking to the future or an academic organisation which values research – each requires different approaches and involves you showing a slightly different side of your personality. Writing and designing your CV with this in mind, will greatly enhance your chances of being replied too, gaining an interview or even being given a trial.
2. Save multiple versions of your CV
As mentioned, it’s important to know who you are applying too. In all likelihood, your CV is going to have to be used multiple times and be sent to lots of different people. So, we recommend keeping multiple versions of your CV for different occasions – most of the information will be roughly the same but you may have different layouts or versions which include different skills or experiences.
3. Prioritise your skills and experiences.
I’m sorry to say that a CV only really has a few short moments to make an impression so get across the most relevant information as promptly as possible – in this case – the capabilities that are most valuable to whom you’re applying and the experiences which they are also most likely to find interesting.
On a separate note, if you are a student supporting your studies by working somewhere like Tesco, Subway or McDonalds, etc – it really is to be admired and your self-dependancy should be applauded. However, consider carefully where you position this information – or if you include it at all. With so many different things to include – there just might not be the space.
Which leads us nicely to…
4. Keep Your CV Concise
The first impression of your CV should be that it looks like a document that a stranger would want to read. Or even better – ask yourself the question if you had little time – would you want to read a similar document about another?
In practical terms – this really means including it all onto one side of A4. As stated above – pick the most relevant information, intelligent formatting can be your friend and leave some things for the interview.
5. Personal Statement
One of the biggest challenges you are likely to have is standing out so one of the best ways you can differentiate yourself is by writing a paragraph, a couple of sentences or even a few words as a personal statement.
There are many different ways you can do this – and ultimately no right way – but it should be more about who you are as opposed to what you do.
A couple of good examples are below..
‘My superpower is my smile, as well as my sensitivity and passion for great visual design.’
‘A results-oriented, ethical and highly adaptable individual with a drive to effectuate lasting positive social change in Scotland.’
There are many different approaches and it’s worth mentioning that professional LinkedIn summaries are a great source of inspiration for personal statements.
6. Print Make A Difference
Again, when it comes to standing out, you should take every opportunity available to you. This means that if you are able to do so – have your CV and cover letter printed and sent on high-quality paper.
Quite simply, it will make more of an impression than a digital CV.
However, please ignore this advice if a company is asking for a ‘Digital Application’ only.
7. Mention what you have to offer – be specific, personal or even humorous
Finally, when asking for something, it is always useful to mention what you have to offer in return for the job, place or internship you are seeking. So take the time to mention this in your cover letter and for those that want to go the extra mile – be specific, personal or even humorous – it is a human-being that is reading your CV after all.
- A designer, photographer and videographer all-in-one.
- A person that eats balance sheets like they’re twinkies.
- The best meme-creator in the West of Scotland.
- The only person who knows how to use TikTok
- Or if all else fails… ‘The humble person who’s happy to learn and will make the tea for everyone.
7 short steps that will make a massive difference. Best of luck with those CVs and don’t hesitate to let me know how you get on and please get in touch if you have any questions?
For you creatives out there – keep an eye out for a similar post on Portfolios.