You’ve earned your degree, your internship is behind you, and now you are ready to go out into the world and land your dream job. How will you get noticed? César Ritz Colleges Switzerland graduate Andreas Anderson shares his “dos” and “don’ts” to writing a great CV.
In competitive fields like hospitality, it can be hard to stand out in a crowd of job-seekers. Your CV is your first (and best!) tool to make a lasting impression and get your foot in the door. It’s a testimonial of who you are, your unique skills and experience, and what separates you from the rest. It speaks to how you can contribute to the company and meet the needs of their clients or customers.
So how can you craft your CV to stand out from the competition?
DO get to the point
When it comes to writing your CV, make sure you get straight to the point. You only have maybe 30 seconds to impress your reader, so you want to make sure they are getting the right information about you quickly.
To achieve this, make sure your CV’s content is well organized. You do not want the reader to have to go searching for the information they most desire. Include clear titles for each section and enough spacing to make your information stand out, and only include the most pertinent information for each unique application.
DO personalize your CV
While CV templates are useful for getting started and organizing your content, do go the extra step to personalize it. You want your CV to have some heart to it, so your personality will shine through to whomever is reading.
It can be useful to include a headshot photo or maybe an interesting fact or two about you. However, do not go overboard by choosing abstract fonts or designs that overshadow your experience. Ultimately, you want to grab attention, give them a feel for who you uniquely are, and then give them the information they are most looking for.
DO keep it relevant
If you do include a picture, make sure it is up-to-date, along with all your information and experience. Go the extra step and tailor your CV to the company and role you are applying for. The reader can tell straight away when a CV has been sent out en masse without considering the company or role to which the person is applying.
It’s also useful to think of your CV as a living, breathing document. It’s helpful to review your CV every so often while things are still fresh in your mind, even if you are not currently looking for employment. That way you can make sure your CV remains relevant for when the time comes to apply for a new job.
DO make sure there are no errors
This seems obvious, but unfortunately I have seen many CVs land on my desk with spelling and grammar mistakes. Use the ‘spell check’ function in Word and even ask one or two people to review your CV before you submit it to catch any errors you may have missed. Don’t let your dream job be just a dream because of a few spelling mistakes.
DO NOT use the same CV every time
Never Copy + Paste the same CV for multiple job applications.
I’ve read thousands of CVs over the past decade in my work and have seen a host of baffling inconsistencies that reveal the applicant hasn’t taken the time to tailor their CV specifically to the role for which they are applying—anything from addressing the wrong name, wrong company, wrong company address, even the wrong role.
With each new application, you must tailor your CV for that role. If you don’t, the reader will know the difference and your CV will be immediately discarded. Your CV says something about who you are as an employee, so make sure you are giving them your best impression.
DO NOT use vague language
When presenting your experience, avoid using vague language or “industry” speak as much as possible. Instead, try your best to succinctly explain what you’ve done and showcase where you excel, instead of peppering your CV with business jargon.
DO NOT make your CV too long
Rather than focusing most on the essentials—education, work experience, and unique selling points—some applicants give way more information than is truly needed in their CV.
For example, if you include sub-points under each role to expound on your past work experience, only list a few of the most pertinent tasks you’ve done for each as they apply to the role. If you have held numerous roles prior to the application, try to only include the most relevant ones.
In general, a good guideline is to keep your CV to two pages or less, with clear sections and concise content. Write your CV with the reader in mind and how you can best help them achieve their company’s goals. These basic principles can help you stand out from the rest.
For more career advice from Andreas:
Andreas Anderson graduated with a Bachelor in International Business in 2013 from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, and worked his way up from dishwasher to department head in restaurants and 5-star luxury properties in different corners of the world. Today, he is part of the pre-opening team for the world’s largest IKEA store (in the Philippines).