Whether you're a student preparing your first CV, or an experienced professional who needs to refresh theirs, getting your CV right is key to securing any role in industry.
Here are our top tips for making sure your CV is employer ready.
Keep your CV to two pages. If you can fit everything onto one page - even better.
Make sure your CV is clearly laid out so it’s easy for employers to find what they’re looking for at a glance. Your personal details should be clearly displayed at the top, along with any links to your portfolio, showreel or website. Make sure that your links work – employers will not have the time to chase you for the right link. Bullet points and tables are a better way of displaying your skills than a paragraph.
Your CV should be in the following order: Personal Details, Personal Statement, Current Employment, Past Employment, Education, Interests / Hobbies and References.
It’s important to keep your personal statement short and not waffle. This is your one opportunity to sell yourself and tell the employer what you have to offer the company. It’s also your chance to show your passion for the company. Are you a fan of any of their games or products? Have they done something recently which you’re impressed by? Tell them why you want to work there, and why they should hire you. Avoid writing cliché statements such as ‘organised’ or ‘team player’.
Your current employment needs to be listed first, followed by your past employment in reverse order. For each role, bullet point a couple of specific responsibilities you undertook, making sure you choose those which are particularly relevant or applicable to the new position you’re applying for. If you’re a graduate, it’s good to include any industry-related work experience or internships before any less relevant jobs.
Again, your education needs to be listed in reverse order beginning with your most recent qualification. If you’re a student / graduate, you should mention specific projects you’ve worked on, particularly any which you scored a high grade on. If you’re a senior, you will still need to include your education on your CV.
If you’ve not mentioned your technical skills or the packages you’ve used in the previous sections, you should make sure that these are included in bullet points somewhere. Include any specific programming languages, software packages and skills you’re knowledgeable in and your level of expertise if applicable.
Interests and hobbies are another great way of showing the employer that you’re an interesting person and not just a CV. They’ll also give them a good indication about whether or not you’d fit in with the rest of the team. Many studios have sports clubs and hold regular game jams and hackathons, so if these are things you happen to enjoy doing, you should include them. However it’s also nice to include non-work related hobbies and interests to show you’re a well-rounded person!
You should include two references at the end of your CV. These should be past employers, and if possible, your current or most recent employer. Ask them for permission in advance to make sure that the new employer can easily contact them for a good reference. If you’re a student or graduate, you can also use a university lecturer or tutor as a reference.
Make sure the information on your CV matches with your online profiles like LinkedIn. It’s important that all the information on both is correct, including job dates, responsibilities etc. so that you’re not caught out. Which brings us to another point – be truthful! There is no use lying anywhere on your application or online profiles, as you will always get caught out.So there you have it – our top ten tips for preparing your CV and increasing your chances of landing a job.
How to make a standout Linkedin profile With over 450 million users globally, Linkedin is the largest professional network. While a CV highlights your strengths and career at a glance, Linkedin can be used to get all the important information out there which you may have had trouble fitting onto two pages. Recruiters like us at Aardvark Swift use Linkedin extensively to look for potential candidates for exciting jobs; it’s essential in this day and age to have a strong, impressive profile.
Showing up in search results
Always keep in mind that you want to show up in search results when creating or touching up your Linkedin profile. You could create the most impressive profile online, but no one would see it if you haven’t optimised it for search results.
When looking for candidates online, recruiters will use important keywords in their search. It’s these keywords that you want to identify and harness to make sure you show up in their search. Keywords will depend on the job you’re looking for; including any programming languages you’re fluent with would be a good idea if you’re looking for programming work for example.
Use these keywords in your summery and try to keep it below three short paragraphs. Adding these keywords to the skills and recommendations portion of your Linkedin profile will also help you show up in search results.
Standing out in search results
Now that you’ve optimised your profile and will show up in any relevant search results, you’ve got to stand out and make that recruiter want to click on your profile to learn more.
Creating a “headline” for your profile is often overlooked, but is crucially important in this step. When scrolling through potentially hundreds of search results, all a recruiter will see is your name, your profile picture and this headline.
Keep this headline short and sweet. A recruiter will only spend three seconds looking at this information before they decide if they want to find out more about you, so a few keywords to describe your experience and build your brand are all that’s needed.
Profile tips and tricks
Writing your summary in first person makes you appear more interesting and human.
People outside your network cannot see your contact details at the bottom of the page. Adding an email or phone number to your summary will make it easier for anyone interested in your profile to get in contact with you.
Linkedin allows you to join up to 50 groups. Joining groups within your industry will not only improve your visibility, but will allow group members to search for and contact you. Just make sure to keep them applicable to your industry.
If you’re updating your profile with old information, you may want to toggle the activity broadcast settings. After clicking “edit profile” you will be given the option to toggle “notify your network”. By temporarily turning this off your updates will not appear on your connections’ newsfeeds.
Linkedin gives you the option to customize your profile URL. By default your URL will be a random assortment of letters but, when editing your public profile, you can customize this to fit with your brand and making it easy to remember. As an added bonus, Facebook and Google Plus also provide this feature. Make your URL consistent across all professional social media platforms for ease of use of anyone interested in you.
A good portfolio is as essential as a good CV and can make or break a job offer. Here we’ve walked through all aspects of a standard portfolio and outlined how you can get the most value out of your online portfolio.
Logo Your logo is going to be the first thing a client sees and is what readers will associate with you and your work from now on. The western world reads from left to right, so always place your logo in the top left of your portfolio and make it link back to your home page. People have come to expect this and it feels wrong when it doesn’t happen.
If you already have a logo, great. If not, create a simple signature logo which others can easily use to identify you.
Similar to a profile that you’d write on a CV, you need to very briefly explain who you are and what you do to anyone interested. Keep it short and sweat. What do you do, where are you based, are you looking for work at the moment?
Ideally you want to put this either below or next to your logo – this is the next logical place a person will look.
The content is obviously the most important part of a portfolio, but there are things you can do to elevate your work and make the experience easier for the viewer. Make a visitor’s time on your portfolio smoother and they’ll be more likely to enquire about you.
Quality over quantity is key here, showcase only your best – don’t make the viewer work to find it. Include big, high-quality images which include a link to the live version.
Write a brief description for each project you’re putting on display, while listing any technical skills you utilised. If you can get one, a testimonial from a client can do wonders and inspire confidence in your skills.
The ‘about me’ page
If you held off on the profile, you can now add more details in the ‘about me’ page. Sharing details about yourself outside of your work can help the reader feel connected to you. Adding photos of yourself can strengthen this connection and make you seem more than just a logo.
Feel free to show any achievements or awards you may have earned that relate to your portfolio; it can only build confidence in your abilities.
Adding or attaching a blog to your portfolio can impress readers with your subject knowledge. Create a schedule of how regularly you’ll post content here and stick to it; a consistently updated blog looks like you’re committed to your field of work.
Add a comment feature for each article so that users can ask questions on content. Readers will be impressed if they see you interacting with your audience.
This will be what interested parties will be looking for if you do everything right; so don’t slip up at the last stage. Make sure your phone number, email address and any other contact details are clearly presented and within an easy to find place. Either a ‘contact me’ tab at the top of the page or placed as a footer on every page will do.
If you have professional social media accounts, leave links to these here. Use thumbnails to your accounts instead of your username so that it’s less work for the reader.