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Modern versus traditional: which CV is best for you?

Created on Mon, 10/04/2017 - 09:00 by Peta Brady, Open2Study blog writer 

When you're looking for work, the one thing you can't do without is a professional and up to date CV. But how do make yours stand out against the competition? When it comes to grabbing the attention of a potential employer, jazzing up your CV with a little creativity to strike a balance between the traditional resume and a more modern style might just be the key to success.

These days, having a one-size-fits-all approach to the job application process isn't going to cut it—you need to ensure your resume is tailored to fit the job description. This means editing and revising the content you're putting out there before you hit send on your application. To save yourself some time, why not develop multiple versions of your CV template for different situations? It might seem like a lot of extra effort, but it might just be the extra effort that lands you your dream job!

So, when it comes to tailoring your resume, what should you consider?

First, you need to know your audience. Think about what type of layout or format will appeal to this particular hiring manager, and also present you as the best fit for the role. For example, if you are working in a creative field, you might think an infographic resume is the best way to present your skills. But before you race off and throw all your experience into a pie chart think about what the prospective employer will want to see. If you're going to be creative, be smart about it and make sure you are still capturing the most relevant skills as required for the job. Pinterest has some great examples of clever infographic designs that, with a bit of luck, won’t land your application in the trash folder. Check them out at the Pinterest infographic resume board.

Sample resume from OnlineResumeStore.com
Resume from OnlineResumeStore.com.

Next, you need to understand your industry. If you are looking for work in financial services, you'll probably need a more traditional resume to accompany your application. Alternatively, if you are looking for work as a graphic designer, a more creative CV would be appropriate.

Sample resume from OnlineResumeStore.com
Resume from OnlineResumeStore.com.

Creative CVs can be somewhat controversial, with many employers still preferring a traditional approach. But if done well and delivered to the right audience, a creative resume can help you stand out and hopefully win you an interview. If you're unsure, try a combination of creative and traditional by adding a few design elements to your chronological CV, or use an infographic resume as a complementary supplement to your traditional CV.

If you want to go all-out creative, make sure it still looks professional and showcases your experience in an easy-to-read format. After all, you want to impress, not put off potential employers. Have a play with this interactive resume by Robby Leonardi. Here we can clearly see the effort involved and the skills Robby has when it comes to design and development. It's also fun, interesting, and most importantly, informative.

Robby Leonardi interactive resume
Robby Leonardi's interactive resume.

Now obviously we're not all amazing designers with coding skills to boot, but there are other ways to inject a little creativity into your own CV. Instead of a standard chronological format, try focusing on your career achievements and education, rather than providing a historical tour of your prior responsibilities. You can also experiment with different colours and fonts (without going overboard) to highlight areas that may be of particular interest.

If your education section is lacking, online courses are a great way to quickly upskill and show employers that you mean business, by demonstrating motivation for self-improvement. If you're not sure how to include online courses on your CV, have a read of Open2Study's blog post by Polly Foster, How to explain your MOOC on your CV.

Above all else, remember that no matter what style of resume or CV you choose, the key is to consider your audience and industry, and to focus on experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for.

This post is by Open2Study's blog writer, Peta Brady.

Peta BradyPeta Brady is a freelance copywriter, editor, social media enthusiast, and general grammar pest. She loves writing scribbles and correcting errors, as well as changing her hair colour every five minutes and eating all the foods in Melbourne.

Contact Peta at www.theword.bird.com.au or on Instagram @thewordbird_.

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