Whether you’ve just finished school and are applying for your first office job or you’re changing careers and looking to enter the insurance industry, it’s important that your CV is professional, relevant and stands out from the crowd.
Here are some tips on how to write a CV that shows off your skills.
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1. Gather your thoughts
Before beginning to write your CV, it’s important to think about its structure and the extent of skills, experience and education you’re going to include.
If you’re a recent school leaver, don’t worry if you haven’t worked in an office before. Remember to include details of any summer jobs you’ve held, transition year work experience or volunteering positions you undertook while at school. Any experience that might catch an employer’s eye is worth including, and will give you a topic of conversation at the interview stage.
For career changers, you should highlight the transferable skills you’ve learned in your current sector and how you will apply them to a career in insurance – for example dealing with customers or data analytics.
It might help for you to brainstorm and jot down all of your relevant experience so you don’t forget anything.
2. Include a short personal statement
An often-skipped step in the CV writing process, a personal statement summarises your career goals to potential employers before they read any further. This vital step could be the difference between an employer reading your CV in detail or just skimming it – which in turn could be the difference between being called for an interview or not.
3. Tailor your CV to the company
Sending a generic CV to a potential employer is guaranteed to ensure it remains at the bottom of their pile. You should think of the job specification as questions that have been asked, then clearly answer these questions throughout your CV. If the employer is asking for an apprentice with particular personal skills (e.g. communication or teamwork), clearly state how you meet these requirements in a clear and concise manner.
In addition, your cover letter should state why you would like to work for that particular company above the others who are hiring apprentices. Maybe you like their brand values or mission statement, or you’ve chosen them for the size or structure of the company itself.
4. Keep it short and sweet
IrishJobs.ie advise people to think of their CV as “a 20 second interview and not your life story” and it’s important to keep this in mind. Your CV should never extend beyond two A4 pages and you should keep long sentences to a minimum. Employers are inundated with CVs on a regular basis and will appreciate the ones that get to the point as quickly and succinctly as possible.
5. Go online
Make sure to provide a link to your LinkedIn profile under your contact details.
Employers will more than likely run a Google search on you anyway and providing this information will make it easier for them to find out more about you. (An added tip – remember to remove any posts or images from your social media profiles that you wouldn’t like a potential employer to see.)
Having a clear, concise CV layout is just as important as the information you’re including. Remember that employers should be able to scan your CV and immediately get an impression of your skills and experience. Using headings, bullet points and short sentences where possible will ensure your CV is easy to read.
7. Use your ‘interests’ section wisely
You can use the ‘interests’ section of your CV to further demonstrate how you possess the skills the employer is looking for.
For example, playing for your school or local GAA team will show teamwork skills, while painting or playing the piano could show commitment and creativity.
8. Read and re-read
A common pitfall when it comes to CVs is spelling and grammatical mistakes, so make sure to avoid them! Get a friend or family member to proofread your CV before sending it off.