Never underestimate the importance of your CV. You may have a fabulous portfolio and naturally that is where hiring managers will concentrate their attention. It shows what you’ve done and gives a great idea as to what you can do. It really sells you.
But if your impressive portfolio is accompanied by a lacklustre CV, then you are already undermining your chances. Your portfolio represents your work. Your CV reveals you, the individual.
Too often, UX professionals rely solely or mostly on their portfolio to demonstrate their skills and experience to recruiters and hiring managers. This is a mistake, because your CV is the chance to create a powerful first impression. A well-written, good-looking, punchy CV will convince the reader that you are a serious candidate and encourage them to spend time looking at your work. If your CV reads like a formality or an afterthought or an unengaging list of facts and figures, it reflects poorly on you. The strength of your portfolio may not be enough to reverse this self-inflicted defeat.
Amongst the many considerations that should go into the composition and design of a CV, there are at least three which are essential. One is to find out as much as you can about the company to which you are applying. Another is to make sure your CV is tailored specifically to the post you are seeking. A third is to make it a pleasure to read.
It’s not hard to research a company these days. You can start with their official website which will give you the essential information as they have chosen to present it. This should give you a good idea of the company’s history, its culture, its vision and its aims. There may be case studies, testimonials and blogs which will all help you understand the personality of the business.
But don’t stop there. Follow any and all social media links, read the posts and study the images. Find news stories in which they might feature, in both trade and national publications. Then look further by searching for what other people have said about them: these might be employees, clients or commentators. So many blogs are written with opinions, arguments and experiences that you can gather many different perspectives. The more you know, the easier you will find it to match your application to the employer.
Tailor Your CV
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all CV. It needs to be adjusted to the needs of every application you make. Every word must be relevant to the job itself. That’s why researching the company is important, but make sure you also thoroughly examine the job description so that you can ensure your CV addresses every element of it.
Delete anything that is not relevant. Revise bullet point lists to place the emphasis on the specific skills and experience the job description asks for. For example, if there is scope to talk about particular projects you’ve worked on successfully, give enough detail for the recruiter to appreciate the nature and scale of the achievement. Be ruthless in your focus. It may not be quite fair to say that hiring managers are looking for reasons to say ‘no’ but having that idea in mind may be a useful starting point.
Make it Look Good
Don’t be obsessed with the idea of getting it all on one page. It may lead you to leave important information out or cram it into a font that’s too small for comfortable reading. Check for grammar, punctuation and typos. These do matter because they reflect your attention to detail and determination to do things correctly. Don’t choose an over-used font such as Times New Roman or, even worse, an informal one like Comic Sans. Choose something like Georgia, Calibri or Garamond, or san serif fonts like Trebuchet or Verdana. Give the reader enough white space not to feel hemmed in, but not so much that it looks padded or incoherent.
For more advice on how to present yourself in the very best light why not talk to RMG Digital today?