Usually a CV should be no more than two pages – and that's two pages of A4 paper! Employers spend, an average, just 8 seconds looking at any one CV, and a surefire way of landing yourself on the no pile is to send them your entire life story. Keep it punchy, to the point, and save those niggly little details for the interview.
We've all done it. Whizzed the same CV out to lots of employers to save time... Stop! Take the time to change your CV for each role that you apply for. Research the company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. They will appreciate the obvious effort.
Don’t just assume an employer will see how your experience relates to their job. Instead, use a short personal statement to explain why you are the best person for the job. This should be reflected in your cover letter. Input here your strengths as to why an ex-military serviceman would be a valuable asset to any company. Think about the unique skills and experience that you gained as a member of the Armed Forces.
Emphasise the most impressive aspect of your career to date by balancing the requirement to cover all the essential information with the need to keep it brief. Include things that employers of ex-military personnel would be most interested in , such as dates of tour duties, changes of regiment and promotion.
Think carefully about your transferable skills and use these as the basis of your CV. Eg, Health Safety (including first aid), engineering, learning and development, project management and leadership.
You should keep your CV up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don't later forget something that could be important.
Employers DO look for mistakes on CVs and if they find them, it makes you look really bad. David Hipkin, head of recruitment and resourcing at Reed Business Information, warns, 'With most employers experiencing massive volumes of applicants right now, giving them the excuse to dismiss your application because of avoidable errors is not going to help you secure an interview.' If you're unsure then use a spellchecker and ask someone else to double-check what you've written.
Everyone lies on their CV, right? NO! Stop! Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can't answer questions on what you claim to know. And that can be VERY awkward!
We live in a world where image is everything, and that also goes for your CV. Take some time to pretty it up... Use bullet points and keep sentences short. Use the graphic design trick of leaving plenty of white space around text and between categories to make the layout easy on the eye.