Here at Arthur Edward HQ, with decades of experience in cosmetics and personal care recruitment, we know the value of your one chance to make a first impression.
Creating a striking and memorable CV can be daunting. It’s your big chance to get a foot in the door of your dream job. You don’t want to sound like a candidate for The Apprentice, claiming to be beyond brilliant, but you do need to sell yourself, your skills and what you can offer your next employer.
Follow our six simple rules for a career defining CV:
1. LESS IS MORE
Keep it to one or two pages; three absolute max. You can go into detail once you get to interview stage, but a long CV just won’t be read. This gets harder as you have more roles under your belt, so try using focused, punchy bullet points, and leave oﬀ an unnecessary or repetitive info.
2. BACK TO BASICS
Your CV reflects you and your attention to detail, so get the basics right. Once you’ve checked the spelling and grammar yourself, ask someone else to read it through. Small, simple errors make you look careless or stupid, and you’re neither.
Keep it clean with lots of white space and no tables. Pick a clear, unfussy font like Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri in 12pt. Don’t overuse italics, colours and small or fancy fonts that strain the eyes. If you’re applying for a creative role it’s best to have a formal CV and attach separate examples of your work.
3. VITAL STATISTICS
Double check dates, company names and job titles. People like to see a consistent career so deal with any gaps head on. if you took a break or made a wrong move acknowledge it, learn from it and move on.
4. START STRONG
Open with an intro that lays out who you are and what you want, giving a feel for your personality, experience and skills. Invest time in making this section strong and distinctive, as it’s the part that’s most likely to be read by someone who is scanning CVs.
After this, start with your current job and list past ones in reverse order, ending with education. The only exception to this is for your first job when your education and any relevant qualifications could be more important.
5. SELL, SELL, SELL
A CV is a marketing tool to sell a product – and that’s you! Show off your achievements and how you made a diﬀerence, playing up aspects that will matter most to a future employer. Emphasise the positives and leave out the negatives, but never lie as it’s all too easy to get caught out.
Saying you made a profit is not enough, you need to back it up with figures showing growth, margins or value. You mustn’t share confidential data of course, but think of other success indicators such as distribution growth, successful product launches, the number of accounts you managed etc.
6. EXPRESS YOURSELF
Remember that people hire people. As well as showing that you’re professional, intelligent and knowledgeable in your field, getting your personality across is important too. Alongside similarly suitable candidates, it may make or break your application.
Keeping your CV visually simple (back to rule 2) truly express who you are and why your personality and work ethic is the perfect match for the company you’re applying to. Be proud of who you are and highlight your strengths. However tempting, don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you win a job that’s more suited to a diﬀerent personality it won’t last.
It’s not unusual to have a number of diﬀerent CVs. In fact, we recommend fine tuning your CV as needed for each application. It might be just the odd tweak here or there but highlighting diﬀerent experiences or characteristics can make all the diﬀerence.