Having trouble nailing that grad job? Or frustrated that you haven't been able to get summer work? Your CV could be holding you back writes Dr. Bill Mallon

·Keep it relevant: Every CV should be tailored for each sector and position. Keep your experience relevant. Having your primary school education or a job you did for a month when you when 14 on a CV may seem like relevant information for all job positions, but it’s not. For any data management or data entry positions it’s important to keep it relevant. Recruiters for these types of position will assess your ability to refine and edit data, so don’t forget your CV will be a barometer for that. If there is material that is irrelevant or poorly formatted in it, it can go against you.

·Don’t just let your experience speak for itself: Tell your potential employer what you have but tell them what you are going to do with it also. A degree or masters qualification can be a huge selling point on your CV but remember that every other applicant for the position will have the same qualification as you. Show how it’s relevant by highlighting the aspects an employer will appreciate. That shows you’re already thinking as if you’re working there.

·Research the position: Employers like to feel that a potential employee is interested in the position. Research the place you are applying to. Do you spot any gaps or strategies you can improve upon? If you have skills which would cater to this, mention them.

·Keep it focused: Bullet points, with focused and clean data, can highlight your experiences more quickly. Any business or data management position will use your CV as a means of gauging this skill. Show them you have this skill. 

·Reconsider your layout: It’s important to have the basics on your CV - personal details, education qualifications and work experience. Try and avoid making an employer search for the information on your CV. Including a section on your hobbies and interests on a CV can often seem like padding. If you captain an amateur football or rugby team at the weekends, it’s better to mention the skills associated with that role in an “Other Experiences/Skills” section than simply putting down “football/rugby” in a “Hobbies” section.

·Consider adding a personal statement to your CV: Most people don’t think of including one. Movies have trailers that make you want to go see it. A personal statement acts in the same way, a taster of what’s to come. Think of your personal statement as an advertisement. What would catch your attention in an ad?

·Use a cover letter: A cover letter should act as a prelude to your CV. It should not be particularly long so as to create overlap between both. A cover letter can be one method of screening applicants who are sufficiently interested in the position. A poor cover letter can often mean automatic rejection, no matter how good your CV is. Know your audience and don't use the same cover letter for different jobs.

·Sell your skills, not yourself: A number of people still talk about their punctuality and hard-working nature on a CV, almost as if that alone should speak for itself. Many times their words are not backed up. Sometimes it helps to be explicit when stating facts, but in this case let your work imply that you are punctual and hard-working. If you have to spell it out for an employer, they may think you’re over-compensating, even if you’re not. 

·Be creative: Every skill is useful if you can show how. Selling items at a market stall at the weekends for a few months does not make you a retail magnate but comparing the skills in a minor way to a higher position can show you are thinking outside the box. Employers love to be shown how skills outside their sector can help them in their business. Show how resourceful you are with seeing an overlap in skills between two jobs but be careful not to under or over-sell your skills.

·Check you spelling and grammar: Your CV should be error free. As a college student, employers expect you to have a good level of English. Proofread your CV a few times to make sure it’s okay. Many of the positions you are applying for will expect you to write reports and manage information. If your CV has an error in it, an employer may be worried that the same error or errors will occur in their material. Be careful. A misplaced apostrophe or comma in your CV is bad for you but a similar error in your employer’s material can spell doom for them, especially if their area is marketing and research. They won’t take that risk, so make sure you don’t.

Dr. Bill Mallon runs CareerProjections, an Irish online service provider that helps students create or refine their CVs. They also provide expert corrections and revisions for all types of college work. Contact today on 087 970 6970 or email info@careerprojections.com to see how they can help you. Their website can be found here -  www.careerprojections.com