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Bootcamp Highlights: CV 101 – Auckland

By Ella Halstead
May 8 2019

Posted in Blog

Bringing her years of experience as a Careers Advisor, Alyson came in on Monday to help us get our first foot in the door by teaching us all about CVs.

6 seconds is how long she told us people would usually take to review your CV. This means that the first impression of your CV means everything. The top 3rd of the first page is what Alyson said to be the most important part a CV because of this.

Breaking down your CV, some essentials to include:

– Professional Summary

– Key Skills

– Experience

– Referees

Professional Summary: This is a short little blurb about who you are, what you enjoy about your studies or work, how you can help the organisation, when you thrive, and what kind of environment you enjoy being around. This will be the first block of writing in your CV so it is very important. It sets the stage for what you want to talk about in your interview.

Key Skills: This is where you would highlight the Key Skills you have and what you can bring. Alyson made it very clear that it is important to tune these skills to what is written in the job description you are applying for. Even if you think you haven’t got the skills they require, you will always be able to draw equivalence from similar skills you have to the skills they are looking for.

Experience: Every bit of experience can contribute to this part in your CV. This is where you talk about what you have done in the past that backs up the key skills you have mentioned earlier. We learnt about how to structure this by using OAAR:

– Objective: What was your goal?

– Analysis: What did you consider?

– Action: What did you do? –

Result: What was the outcome?

People often forget to talk about the result which is a big mistake. You need to inform them why achieving your goal mattered, what did you come out with from this experience. Alyson encouraged us to ask ourselves the question “So What?” to help avoid this mistake. She also showed us an example of how she used Dungeons and Dragons as experience and turned it into relevant information to put on a CV to solidify the fact that everything you do counts as experience.

Referees: We were told that this is somewhat optional, usually more important when you are young looking for your first job. In this case, it is common for people to just put “Available upon request”. However, when adding referees to your CV make sure to include their name, title, company, relationship with you and their contact details.

Optional Sections:

– Classes (Relevant coursework)

– Awards/honours received

– Interests

Common mistakes:

– Avoid using CV builders. IT is best to write your CV yourself and only use them for inspiration

– Be careful of formatting! Be mindful of font type, size, consistent use of bold and underlines, tenses, and sentence format.

– Try to avoid using ambiguous or negative words (e.g. Deal with, handle, assisted, various, multiple, etc, miscellaneous)

We learnt that it is okay to brag about yourself in your CV. Everyone is different and you’re trying to get a job by selling yourself. We also need to remember that your CV is not going to get you a job, it will only get you an interview. What you put in your CV should be what you want to talk about during your interview. Alyson highlighted the key tip to always be looking back at the job description and tailor your CV towards it.

Make sure to register to the CV Clinic on the 30th of April where you’ll have a chance to have a one on one review of your CV with some industry employers!

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