​When it comes to the job search, it's hard to avoid the word 'CV' – it's seemingly everywhere you turn. A CV is a detailed list of your accomplishments, skills and past job experiences. It is proof that you are qualified for a given position.

Over the years, crafting a CV has become a fine art. Employers want to receive well-written and well-presented documents from their potential staff members. In fact, a CV can be boiled down to an exact recipe.

From the ingredients to the plating, employers want to receive well-written and well-presented documents from their potential staff members. Yet there is still a major disconnect between what job seekers prioritise when creating their resumes versus what employers actually want to see.

A perfect CV is like some well-cooked and well-plated food.

The employer-employee disconnect

A recent UK-based survey found that a considerable 50 per cent of professionals put major stock in listing soft skills, personal interests and volunteer experience. However, the majority of recruiters cited very different priorities.

Recruiters highlighted the use of industry-related terms, clean copy and correct formatting as the most important elements of a solid CV. A detailed list of professional responsibilities and the use of job ad keywords were ranked as the least important.

The study concluded that these were the top 5 most important details to include on your CV:

  • A complete list of roles within the same company
  • A strong use of industry keywords
  • A thorough description of all achievements
  • A complete lack of typos and grammatical errors
  • Correct formatting and font

Tricks of the trade

While there are no exact measurements for your various CV ingredients, there are some crucial tips to keep in mind when cooking up your next resume.

1. Filter out the extras: While you may have 10 pages of worthy experience, you generally want to boil your skills down to the bare minimum. What past jobs or achievements most aptly convey your abilities? If you find areas that are critical but appear very bulky, try condensing the key sections into bullet points. Leave the flowery language for your interview, your resume is supposed to be a quick snapshot of your experiences – keep it that way.

Employers go through stacks of resumes every day. Adding a little spice to your CV can help you stand out.

2. Don't be afraid to add some flavour: Employers go through stacks of resumes every day. Adding a little spice to your CV can help you stand out. Whether this means adding some impressive formatting or sneaking in some particularly interesting professional tidbits, don't be afraid to add some flavour to your CV.

3. Don't just write out the ingredients, explain what you do with them: Listing out your skills is arguably the entire point of a resume. You are trying to communicate to a potential employer that you have the tools to get the job done. However, just listing out your skills isn't enough. You need to show your employer how you used them. Try adding some examples of when your skills helped, how and what happened as a result.

4. Improve as you go: Your CV is a living document. It's not set in stone. Don't be afraid to shake it up as you see fit. In fact, if you're not updating your CV fairly regularly, you're probably doing something wrong. Make sure all of your professional details reflect your latest job roles. Have you switched over from assistant manager to senior manager at your current company? Update your CV to reflect this change, explain your new job description and throw in the achievements that led to that promotion. Be sure to also comb through your CV for any potential mistakes – whether it is an outdated reference phone number or a misplaced comma – these are little details that can fall through the cracks, don't let a misspelled word push your CV to the bottom of the pile.

The New Zealand Resume

Here at Tradestaff NZ, we focus on roles within New Zealand. As such, we've had ample experience helping our clients hone their resumes to fit NZ expectations. For workers looking to come to New Zealand for employment from another country, this is of particular importance.

For international job-seekers looking for employment in New Zealand, CVs may look a little different.

While the general fillings of your resume are the same, the formatting and expectations may be a little different. For example, New Zealand employers generally expect CVs to be two to three pages long whereas US resumes tend to be cut off after page one. Companies around New Zealand also require two referees. These could be past employers or colleagues but your new potential employers will need up to date contact details for each of the references.

Tradestaff has years of experience helping job seekers land positions across New Zealand. A well-crafted CV is only the first step. To learn how Tradestaff can help you, contact one of our reps today!