Improve your CV
At UK Distance Learning & Publishing we understand that the main reason students take courses with us is that you want to find ways to improve your CV. An online course, whether it’s a national qualification like an A-Level or a CPD course, is always going to help you stand out from the crowd. But there are more ways than just studying to give your résumé a lift. In this article, we’ll go over a few different ideas, and see whether any of them are useful ways to improve your CV.
‘So what?’ This simple question should be at the forefront of your mind when writing a CV or a covering letter. It’s one of the simplest ways to improve your CV. A successful job applicant will not simply list their qualifications and experience, but explain why they are relevant to the specific position to which they’re applying.
Imagine you are the owner of car dealership, reading the CV or covering letter of someone applying to be a salesperson. Their CV states that they have completed a distance learning course in Beginner’s Web Design. What is the question they are likely to ask? You guessed it. They are seeking a salesperson, so why should they care about your web design skills? So what?
Now imagine you’re reading the same CV, but it says something like this. As part of my distance learning course in web design, I have gained the skills to create SEO friendly web content. This could be used to generate interest in your business’s own website. This means I could be generating sales even when the forecourt is empty.
By highlighting the aspects of your education that could be directly useful to the car dealership, you take away the ‘so what?’ question that would otherwise undermine your application.
If I have a flaw, it’s that I tend to blather on. Verbosity can be a useful quality in some circumstances, but it’s poison to a CV or job application. Being concise is one of the best ways to improve your CV. Whenever a new vacancy opens up these days, most employers can expect to receive dozens, even hundreds, of applications. This is in large part down to the internet. It makes new vacancies visible to a wider pool of candidates than ever before.
This is why being concise is one of the key ways to improve your CV. Even the most diligent of employers is not going to bother reading every single CV that gets sent to them in detail. Therefore, it’s absolutely vital to try to keep your CV down to one or two pages at most. Even more important, make sure that the most important stuff is clearly emphasised. If you’re applying for a job working with kids, say, and you’ve done a CACHE course, like the Award in Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools, then clearly this is something you should be making a centrepiece of your application.
You don’t need to write a lot about these things to make an impact. Just remember the ‘so what?’ question and keep it simple. Your CV is not a poem or a novel. Do not be tempted to stray into flowery prose. Simply state what your education and experience is, and then explain why it is important. If you can keep this explanation down to one or two sentences (preferably one), then that is ideal.
Originality is one of the trickier ways to improve your CV. When employers have to trawl through massive piles of job applications, a little twist of originality can go a long way. Be cautious though — you want your employer to take you seriously. So, don’t write up your CV on pink paper or include photographs of your kids in fancy dress. However, something a little bit different can help you stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is by including a link to video profile. This simply means recording yourself giving a brief introduction to who you are and why you should be hired. This is really simple to do, and doesn’t come across as gimmicky or silly. It will, however, give your employer the chance to see you in person before the interview stage. If you want to go down this route, it is of course important to make sure that your appearance is sharp and professional.
Not that I’m suggesting you would fib on your CV! But as anyone who has ever watched The Apprentice will know, occasionally even the best candidates can ‘over-embellishing’ their achievements. The fact is, though, if you do this you will almost always be caught out. It is usually extremely easy to tell when people are trying to get away with a bit of a whopper. And it is very easy to check! All an employer need do is check your references and ask to see evidence (such as certificates, etc.) to check whether you’re not being totally upfront. If you are a habitual liar like me, then telling the truth is one of the hardest ways to improve your CV.
Hopefully these simple tips will help you make the most of your distance learning qualifications when applying for your next job. Remember, if you are looking for a specific option to help boost your CV, and you want someone to give you one-to-one guidance on which courses might help, just give us call or drop us an email.