Colourful graphic of someone writing a CV.

(Light music)

Hello and welcome to Kick Start.

I’m Alice from Christians Against Poverty,

and in this session, we’re going to talk about the CV.

(Mellow music)

Think of your CV as the cover of your book.

Its job is firstly, to catch the attention of the employer

and secondly, to clearly point out your selling points

in an attempt to make them read the whole book.

In the same way, you want to catch the attention

of the employer, clearly point out your unique strengths

and make them invite you for an interview to find out more.

Employers often receive lots of CVs for each role

that they advertise.

You want your CV to stand out from the crowd

and to grab their attention.

Your aim is to do the hard work and make it clear in your CV

that you fit the role, rather than having them needing

to figure it out for themselves.

Through local churches, CAP Job Clubs helps hundreds

of people find work by sharing the tools for success.

And in this session, we are going to discuss how important

it is to tailor your CV to each job that you apply for.

Think about writing a birthday card.

You wouldn’t send the same birthday cards to your grandma

as you would to a one year old child.

They’re both different people with different needs.

The picture that you choose and the message that you write

is personal to each.

In the same way, you need to take a little more time

to understand who the employer is and exactly

what job they need doing, it’s vital.

Taking the time to do your research will help

you identify the skills that they’re looking for.

Then, you can easily match up your skills with their needs

and make sure that they’re clearly displayed in your CV.

We managed to speak to some employers about what they look

for in a good CV.

A good CV is something that is no more

than two pages long.

Some CVs today are far, far too long.

It’s far, far too much information.

It needs to be short and to the point.

It’s got to be a selling document, so that the person

who’s reading it at the other end thinks

this looks interesting.

I need to speak to this person.

Something that just jumps off the page.

It makes me think, oh, this is the kind of person I want

on my team.

If you have a gap, tell somebody what it is

and they’ll feel that much more comfortable

that the CV they’re reading is honest.

Avoid spelling mistakes, so make sure you can proofread it

or get somebody else to look at it.

Have somebody else to proofread it

and ask your friend.

As an employer, it’s great to read something that shows

that they’re interested in the role,

that they’ve thought about the job.

So make sure that in your CV, you’ve understood what

the role is that you’ve applied for,

if it’s a particular role and that you’ve got

those skills quite clearly right at the top of your CV,

so that the person looking at it

can see a match straight away to the role

that they’re looking for.

It’s very easy to spot a CV that’s just one

that’s been sent out a hundred times.

It’s very hard for people because you have

to slightly rewrite things, but just make sure

you rewrite some of it so that it is linked

to the actual job that you’re applying for.

I don’t want to see something that is just

so generic across the board that it could go

to any organisation anywhere.

I want to feel quite special from my point of view

that this person is right for me.

Look back to the job advert.

Take a few key words from that job advert.

Make sure they’re included either in your cover letter

or in the CV itself.

Don’t worry if you’ve been told no.

Don’t let it upset you, it isn’t your fault.

Keep going, make your CV strong.

Look at your CV again.

If you feel confident enough, ask for some feedback.

So if you have put a CV in

and you haven’t had any response, try again.

So there are clear benefits to personalising each CV,

but how do you know what the employer wants?

Well, this needs a little bit of detective work.

Let me explain.

Most employers leave clues that you can use

to understand more about the job that they’re advertising.

You can find these clues by looking at the job advert,

on the company website, in news articles about that company,

industry news, social media posts or recruitment websites.

Taking this new information, we can create a skills matrix.

This is a simple way of listing the skills

or positive qualities for a role

and it looks something like this.

To create a skills matrix, you need three columns.

The first two you can fill in

using the information you found.

One to list the skills or positive quality needed

for the role.

One to remind you where you found it.

The final column is where you now need to provide an example

or evidence that you can actually do what they want.

List all examples that you can think of.

These could be from previous jobs or from things that you do

in your spare time.

For example, while researching a job

at a large DIY hardware shop, I noticed that the employer

had a customer service award on their website.

This is a good indication that they’ll be looking

for somebody with good customer service qualities.

So I’d write those into the first two columns

of my skills matrix.

Now, I write down all of the evidence I can think of

that shows that I have this quality.

I think I’m a people person and I enjoy helping people,

so I’ll write that down.

I also worked on a market store for five years,

helping customers, so I’ll put that down too.

Taking the time to create a skills matrix will not only help

you to identify what the employer is looking for,

but remind you of the things from your past

that you may have forgotten about.

At the end of the process, you will have all of the pieces

for a winning CV.

If you struggle to find an example for three or more

of the skills needed for the role,

it can be a good indication that maybe this job

is not the right one for you.

Being honest with yourself can help you to search

for more relevant job adverts.

For example, if a key skill for a job is to be able

to drive, but you don’t have a driving licence,

then you can decide not to apply for that one

and to continue your search.

Don’t waste time applying for jobs

that you really don’t think are right for you.

(Mellow music)

So far you’ve looked at doing some investigating

to make sure that you know exactly

what employers are looking for in the role

that they’re advertising.

Then using the skills matrix, you’ve made sure

that you have the relevant skills to do the job.

It may take time and effort, but this will help you

to identify whether this is the right job for you.

If you find that you don’t have the relevant skills

or you know that you won’t enjoy it,

then it will save the hard work and the emotional energy

of tailoring your CV and applying.

If on the other hand, you find that you do

have the skills required and you feel excited

about the role, you will already be in the best position

with all of the pieces ready to go.

But how do you write a great CV?

Here, we have an example CV split into five sections.

Personal profile, key skills, employment history,

education, hobbies and interests.

It should be no longer than two pages.

For each new job that you’re applying for,

we suggest you always update the personal profile

and key skills section.

First, go through your completed skills matrix

and highlight the skills or qualities

that you think are most important for the job.

Maybe they’ve been mentioned multiple times.

Write the skills that you highlighted

into your personal profile, remembering to give evidence

for it by talking about previous experience from work

and wider life.

Talk about your goals and where you might like to go

with your job in the future.

Keep it short.

One or two paragraphs is plenty.

Next, write your key skills section.

List the top five of your skills

that you think the recruiter may be looking for.

Always back this up with evidence.

For example, communication.

I had a personal target for upselling and engaging customers

in promotions, which I exceeded.

Let’s finish by running through the remaining sections

of the CV.

These will usually stay the same, but it’s worth considering

whether or not they need to be updated.

Employment history. Employers are very interested to know

what you’ve done in the past,

so a normal CV should list any previous employment,

starting with the most recent.

Keep the list short, stating the company name, role,

dates and a brief job description.

This could provide further details on any roles

that are relevant to the job that you are applying for.

For jobs over ten years ago,

you can just give the company name, role and the dates.

If you have gaps in your employment history,

then that’s okay, but it is important

to explain them honestly.

For example, you could have been in education

or maybe caring for children.

Education. Mention all the relevant qualifications

that you have.

These could have been achieved in a school,

college, university, apprenticeships

or gained through workplace training.

Finally, include hobbies and interests that are relevant

to the role.

Do they demonstrate a transferable skill or personality type

that a recruiter could be looking for?

If so, include them in your CV.

For example, if the role requires managing

and mentoring staff members, then make sure to highlight

that you coach a local football team.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way

to producing a great CV that stands out from the crowd.

(Mellow music)

Often one of the first things an employer will see when somebody applies for a job is their CV. It’s vital that this gives a great first impression and reflects the applicant well. But it’s not always easy. Where do we start? What do we include? What do we leave out? It can be a stressful process, especially for those who have been unemployed and searching for work for a long time.

In this session, you’ll look at what makes a great CV and how this can be practically applied. We recommend that you complete the Discovering your strengths session beforehand as this will help them identify key skills and positive qualities to include in their CV.

This session focuses on what makes an effective CV and why it’s important to customise our CVs depending on our own skills and experiences. It’s designed to equip you with the tools to build an effective CV to which employers will respond well, and to help them create a bank of content that can be transferred to covering letters and application forms.

By the end of the session, you should have a better understanding of what makes a great CV and how to make yours stand out to prospective employers. You should feel ready and equipped to start building or editing their CV, incorporating the skills and positive qualities they identified in the Discovering your strengths session.

Yes! We offer additional facilitator resources, such as guidance on activities and discussions, to allow you to run this as a group session for your church or community. Fill out the form and you’ll receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to access your free resources.

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