A good CV is your passport to getting a new job in agriculture – so getting it right is worth a bit of time and effort. Here is our guide to avoiding some common mistakes.
1. The name game
When an employer looks at a CV it is pretty obvious what it is. So there is no need to put the words curriculum vitae at the top. Put your name there instead, as that is what you want the person reading it to remember
2. Keep it relevant
It may be tempting to list every job you have ever held in your work experience section, but the two months you spent waiting tables 12 years ago probably isn’t adding very much. Cut the clutter and use the space to elaborate on a role that is relevant and which showcases skills that are pertinent to the job on offer.
3. Avoid fancy formatting
If you are applying for a job as a graphic designer there’s an argument that you might want to do something creative with the look of your CV. But for jobs in agriculture keep the formatting clean and simple and choose a standard font like Arial or Times New Roman.
4. Show, don’t tell
Anyone can claim to be brilliant, but it doesn’t mean that you are. Potential employers want to see what you have done, so rather than tell them you are “innovative” include an example of where you have done something innovative and the benefits it brought. In fact avoid buzzwords such as problem solver, dynamic or motivated completely – they are so overused they have become meaningless. Outline specific examples of where you have shown these traits.
5. Keep it clean
Ask yourself does firstname.lastname@example.org really convey the right image to a prospective employer?
Set up a new account if your existing email address is anything less than professional. While you are at it, check out what anyone searching for you online might see on Facebook or Twitter. You might find the need to do some social media spring-cleaning.
6. Spell it out
Even if the job you are applying for is not one that requires much writing, there is nothing more off-putting than a CV with spelling mistakes. It suggests you lack attention to detail. Given this is your one chance to make a good impression, read it repeatedly and then get a friend or family member to read it too. Do not rely on the spellcheck on your computer as it won’t pick up words, such as there and their, that are spelled correctly but are being used out incorrectly.
7. Size matters
Two pages is the limit when it comes to a CV. Any more and you’ll send the person reading it to sleep.
The priority should be on information that demonstrates to the employer that you have the skills they are looking for. There is no need to outline every GCSE.
8. Have it covered
A good covering letter can be the difference between getting an interview or not. It should summarise what is in the CV but also emphasise why you are interested in the role and your key strengths in relation to it. It is your chance to tell the reader what makes you stand out from the crowd.