Irish Dental Jobs has been helping people find their ideal roles in the dental industry for over 8 years. In that time, we have naturally seen and helped quite a few people with their CVs. It’s important to remember that a CV or resume is a selling document. Its sole purpose is to meet the employer’s criteria and invoke enough interest to invite you to interview, all within the space of a glance. Of equal importance, is what we call is a ‘Personal Profile’. This short introduction is a way for you to highlight yourself and replaces the inferior cover letter used by so many job applicants. In this article, we have put together our top CV tips to help you land that ideal role:
Get the Basics Right
The first thing to note is there is no right or wrong way to write a CV, but there are some common sections everyone should cover. These include:
- Personal and contact information
- Education and qualifications
- Work history and/or experience
- Relevant skills to the job in question
- Interests, achievements or hobbies
The first 15-20 words of your CV are vitally important. Don’t just assume an employer will see how your experience relates to their job, use a personal profile to explain why you are the best person for the job. This will set you apart as you took the time to write directly to the employer. Most agencies will look for a cover letter, however unlike other agencies, we believe that we are unique in how we find the right jobs for the right people. Each and every one of us is unique in our own right, and using your uniqueness is going to find you the right job. With your CV we also look for a ‘Personal Profile’. This can be enclosed at the top of your CV as a way of introduction.
What is a personal profile?
A personal profile is very much like a cover letter, however it omits ‘buzz words’ or trying to be somebody you are not. Unlike a cover letter it is written on a conversation basis, hence a ‘Personal Profile’.
- A personal profile is an introduction to you on both a professional and personal basis, however we like to receive this on a conversational basis. Due to your CV being a professional document, it’s impossible to read between the lines or get a feel for who the real person is. Remember our ethos is that ‘People Matter To Us’. We want to get a feel for who you are and where you have come from. It is not always the case that the person with the relevant experience and qualifications gets the job. Instead, the person who has the right attitude and has the ability to succeed with some mentoring and guidance might be more suitable. If you do not have the relevant requirements your personal profile is really important, you want to stand out from the crowd, you want to prove that you are just as capable as anyone else in getting the job, so go for gold and prove why you deserve this job over others.
- On a professional basis, this is a summary of your cv, for example, if you have experience in dental, you would explain when you qualified, how many years’ experience you have, what areas of dentistry you prefer, what dental software you are experienced in, any further qualifications etc. Immediately the client knows your background in a few lines. For non-dental applicants, focus on your past experience. What skills and traits have learned from this and what you can bring to the table?
- On a personal basis, give us a brief description of your background, who you are and where you come from. You can also tailor this around the job that you are applying to. This can be as long as you want. We forward CVs on the basis that the employer almost has you employed before they even look at your CV, and this is down to the introduction; your personal profile
Presentation Is Key
A clear and concise CV is the first way you can impress an employer. Remember that this their first impression of you, so make sure it’s a good one. Laying out your CV in a coherent manner, with good flow and layout can make all the difference. Employers spend an average of 20 to 30 seconds scanning your CV, so try to keep it clutter-free and easy to read. It makes their life easier and puts you in the good books straight away. The last thing an employer wants to do is to go hunting for the information they are looking for.
We recommend you spend a decent amount of time on this to make sure that you are providing the right information. A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented, and printed on clean, crisp white paper. Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter's eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information is there.
We recommend ordering your CV by experience. For most people, education would come first, so start with that and then move down through your experiences thereafter. Your CV is essentially a summary of your life up until now, so make sure it’s in a logical order that prioritises what the employer wants to see first. Check out the basics section above for a great example of chronological order.
Spelling and Grammar - Keep It Error Free
Make sure you re-read your CV for typos and grammar errors. A CV littered with spelling mistakes is not going to impress anyone, yet alone an employer, so make sure you spend the extra time when it comes to this. Don’t simply depend on your word processor’s spell checker, it’s not always right! Always do a manual check over everything. If you want to triple check, submit your CV to Grammarly online. This is a fantastic resource that will help you with those pesky grammar problems. (Irish Dental Jobs CV Template)
It's deceptively easy to make mistakes on your CV and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. As well as checking your spelling and grammar, make sure your employment dates match up and that you've provided the right phone number and email address. Employers do look for mistakes on CVs and if they find them, it shows a lack of care, which no employer wants to hire.
Tailor your personal profile to the job
It may sound like a time-consuming process, but making the effort to tailor your personal profile to suit the requirements of each particular job that you are applying for can greatly increase your chances of securing an interview. This could be the difference in grabbing an employer’s attention or not. A generic introduction will only take you so far, so we recommend that you tailor your personal profile to each job that you apply for to give yourself the best possible chance when it comes to landing your dream job.
Establish what the job entails and how you can match your unique experience to each requirement listed. You don't have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they're relevant. Don't be lazy and hope that a general introduction will work, because it won't. Research the company and use the job advert to work out exactly what skills they mention a lot. Employers often leave a trail of hints in the job description, and they will appreciate the obvious effort you took to include them.
What Makes You Unique?
Most jobs you apply for are likely to have hundreds of other candidates also applying, so you need to make sure you stand out. Employers don't just buy skills, they buy solutions, so show how you can sincerely make their lives easier with your knowledge and skills. Most of us have experienced something unique that makes us a little more diverse than the competition, so make sure to include it!
Do Your Skills Fit the Bill?
Under the skills section of your CV, don't forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. Everyone has communication skills, computer skills, team working, problem-solving etc. written down. What makes you distinctively more skilled? Do you speak a foreign language? Are you the world’s greatest dentist? Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you've done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group, it's all relevant.
What Are You Interested In?
Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you've gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you travelled the world for the summer and encountered various problems that needed quick thinking and problem solving, illustrate it, that’s what will make you stand out. Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are.
Making the Most of Experience
Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as "developed", "organised" or "achieved". Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you're applying for. Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions, even if they were only minor roles.
References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you've never worked before it’s okay to use a lecturer or tutor as a referee. Aim to include at least two high-quality referees if you can, instead of “available upon request”.
Don't Leave Gaps
Leaving obvious gaps on your CV immediately makes employers suspicious unless you can explain them. It's okay if you took a year abroad to travel or left your previous job to do a course, volunteer work or develop soft skills, just make sure your CV is a continuous timeline of your life.
Tell the Truth
Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. You will get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can't answer questions on your experiences. Tell the truth from the beginning.
Know Your Sums
This may sound dull but backing up your achievements with numbers makes selling yourself much easier. When writing your work history, don’t just say that you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six-month period.
What Length Should Your CV Be?
An average agency would recommend a CV no longer than 2 pages. We think a couple of extra pages is ok providing your CV is laid out in a simple, clear and concise manner, making for easy reading. As we learned earlier, the average employer spends 20-30 seconds scanning your CV. A good CV makes every point necessary without waffling. Keep things simple, use easy language, use bullet points and keep it short and sweet. At the end of the day, a CV is only reassurance for a potential employer, a chance to tick the right boxes and secure an interview. Employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it's unlikely they'll read each one cover to cover.
Make It Beautiful
How many black and white CVs does the average employer receive every day? Dozens! There are a million and one ways to make your CV easy on the eyes without going overboard. Perhaps some structure, borders or a splash of colour are for you?
Keep your CV up-to-date
It’s often difficult to remember the projects you have been involved with and the achievements you have made. To avoid leaving important pieces of information out, revisit your CV every few months adding anything substantial and cut out any information that is no longer required. For example, if you've just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they are included. Potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.
Writing a CV doesn’t have to be difficult. Like any other skill, it takes time to find what works best for you.
- Research: Find out exactly what the employer you want to impress is looking for, then write a CV that exactly matches their requirements.
- Evidence: Prove what a great candidate you are by including examples of achievements, improvements you made at work or problems you solved.
- Length: Most people choose to aim for a 2-page CV, however if you feel you need to go into further detail and explain your story that’s okay too!
- Proofreading: Thoroughly check your CV for errors and ensure that what you have written makes sense. Then ask someone to double-check it for you.
- Personal Profile: Always provide a personal profile or email to go with your CV, as it’s another chance to convince the employer of your suitability.
- Stand out: Don’t be afraid to show who you are, let your personality shine through your words and design.
- Personal Photo: We recommend candidates include a personal photo of themselves in their CV. It’s always nice to put a face to the name.
Interested in seeing more? Irish Dental Jobs is Ireland’s Number 1 Dental Recruitment Agency. We are the only recruitment agency in the Country who is 100% exclusive, dedicated and committed to the dental profession. There is no-one in Ireland like us. All our vacancies can be found here.
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