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How to Write a CV for the New Zealand Market in 2024


Template ideas, tips and AI optimisations to help you build the best CV

Crafting a standout CV that grabs the attention of potential employers is a crucial step in landing your dream job. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the essential elements of a winning resume for the New Zealand job market in 2024, while also exploring how you can harness the power of AI to optimise your CV effectively.

What is a CV?

A resume, or a CV, is a concise document highlighting an individual's educational and professional journey. Tailored for job applications, it succinctly presents qualifications, work experience, and skills, enabling employers to assess a candidate's suitability for a specific role and make informed hiring decisions.


Why is a CV important?

A resume is crucial when applying for a new job as it is the first point of contact between you and potential employers. It provides a summary of your skills, qualifications, and experiences, showcasing your suitability for the job. By tailoring your resume to each specific job, you can highlight relevant skills and experiences that directly align with the job description. This helps employers understand your value proposition and can significantly increase your chances of being invited for an interview. Essentially, a well-crafted resume is your ticket to getting noticed and making a strong first impression.

 

Steps on how to write a professional CV

1. Choose the right CV format

Choosing the right format for a resume is crucial because it determines how your information is presented and how easily a potential employer can review your qualifications. The format should highlight your strengths and downplay any weaknesses. For instance, a chronological format is the most common format and emphasises career progression, while a functional format focuses on skills, making it suitable for those with gaps in their employment history. A combination format blends both approaches. The right format can help a recruiter quickly locate key information, enhancing your chances of making a positive first impression and being shortlisted for an interview.

Download the 2024 CV template with AI prompts

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2. Adding your contact information

Having easily accessible contact information simplifies the process for potential employers to reach out to you. If your contact information is hard to find or missing, employers may move on to the next candidate rather than spend time searching. By clearly listing your phone number, city, email, and your LinkedIn profile at the top of your resume, you ensure that employers can quickly and conveniently contact you for an interview.


3. Include a professional summary

A compelling career summary at the start of your resume is vital as it serves as an introduction to your professional self. It provides an overview of your skills, experiences, and achievements, effectively setting the tone for the rest of the document. This section can grab the attention of potential employers and encourage them to read further. A well-crafted career summary can effectively articulate your value proposition and how you can contribute to the company.


4. Showcase your work experience effectively

Effectively showcasing your work experience on your resume starts with listing your jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. For each role, provide a brief description of your responsibilities and, more importantly, your achievements. Use action verbs to describe your duties and quantify your achievements wherever possible to provide concrete evidence of your skills. Tailor this section to the job you're applying for by highlighting the most relevant experience and skills. This method not only demonstrates your qualifications but also shows your potential value to the company..


5. Don’t forget to include your education and relevant skills

The best way to highlight your education on your resume is to list your degrees in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Include the name of the institution, the degree obtained, and the date of graduation. For recent graduates, relevant coursework, academic achievements, and projects can also be highlighted.

As for skills, they should be relevant to the job you're applying for. They can be divided into hard skills (technical abilities like software knowledge) and soft skills (interpersonal skills like communication). Use a skills section to list them, and provide context for your skills by demonstrating how you've used them in your work experience. This tailored approach to presenting your education and skills makes it easy for employers to see your qualifications and how they align with the job requirements.


6. Consider what additional information you can inlcude

Adding additional information like projects, language skills, and certificates can enhance your resume by providing further evidence of your abilities.

For projects, include those that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Describe the project, your role, the skills you used, and the results achieved. This can demonstrate practical application of your skills. Language skills can be a great asset, especially for jobs that require communication with international clients or colleagues. List the languages you're proficient in and your level of proficiency (basic, conversational, fluent, native). Certificates should also be relevant to the job. Include the name of the certificate, the institution that issued it, and the date of completion. If it's a well-recognised certification in your field, it can significantly boost your credibility. These additional details can set you apart from other candidates, showcasing a wider range of skills and a commitment to continuous learning. Ensure all additional information adds value and relevance to your application.


7. Adding your references

Typically, it is no longer necessary to list references directly on your resume. Instead, it's more common to write "References available upon request" at the bottom of your resume. This saves space for more important information and respects the privacy of your references.

Remember to notify your references each time you provide their contact information to a potential employer, so they can be prepared to give a strong, positive reference.


8. Always tailor your resume to the job description

Tailoring your resume to the role you're applying for is crucial because it demonstrates to potential employers that you're a strong match for the job. This involves adjusting your resume's content to align with the job description, including keywords and skills. Using specific keywords from the job description helps because many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. These systems look for relevant keywords to determine if a candidate's resume matches the job requirements. Tailoring your skills is also essential. Highlight the skills mentioned in the job description, demonstrating not just that you possess these skills, but also how you've used them in your work experience. This customisation shows that you've taken the time to understand the role and the company's needs, and it makes it easier for hiring managers to see how your qualifications align with the job.


9. Don’t forget to proofread and edit before sending

Proofreading your resume is vital because it ensures your document is free from errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting. A resume with such mistakes can make a negative impression on potential employers, suggesting a lack of attention to detail, poor communication skills, or a lack of seriousness about the application. Errors in your resume can result in your application being dismissed, regardless of your qualifications or fit for the role. Proofreading also allows you to review the content for clarity and relevance. It's an opportunity to ensure that the information is accurate, concise, and tailored to the job description. So, not only does proofreading prevent potentially damaging errors, but it also helps to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your resume.


How long should your CV be?

The length of a professional resume can depend on several factors, including your industry, the amount of experience you have, and the job you're applying for. However, as a general rule, a resume should be one to two pages long. For recent graduates, or those with less work experience, a one-page resume is usually sufficient

to highlight your skills, education, and any relevant experience. Professionals with several years of experience might require a two-page resume to adequately detail their work history, skills, and accomplishments. However, it's important to be concise and only include information that is relevant to the job you're applying for. 
 

How often should you update your CV?

You should update your resume regularly, ideally every six months to a year, or whenever you achieve a significant accomplishment, learn a new skill, or change jobs. Regular updates ensure your resume reflects your current skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Even if you're not actively job searching, maintaining an up-to-date resume can prepare you for unexpected opportunities or provide a basis for updating your LinkedIn profile or discussing a promotion or raise.

 

How can you use AI to optimise your CV?

AI tools offer a variety of features that can streamline the resume creation process, from structuring and formatting to optimising content for specific job applications. Here's how you can leverage AI effectively to create an impressive resume:

1. Structured Layout and Formatting: AI-powered resume builders can assist you in designing a professional layout and format for your resume. These tools ensure consistency in design elements such as font styles, spacing, and alignment, resulting in a visually appealing document that grabs attention.

2. Keyword Optimisation: AI algorithms can analyse job descriptions and identify keywords and phrases relevant to your target industry or role. By incorporating these keywords strategically throughout your resume, you can increase the likelihood of passing through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catching the eye of hiring managers.

3. Content Suggestions: AI-driven content generation tools can provide valuable suggestions for improving the content of your resume. These suggestions may include quantifying achievements, refining language to better highlight your skills and experiences, and emphasising accomplishments that are most relevant to the job you're applying for.

4. Tailoring to Job Descriptions: AI can help tailor your resume to match the specific requirements of job descriptions. By analysing job postings and comparing them to your resume, AI tools can recommend adjustments to better align your qualifications with the needs of potential employers.

5. Proofreading and Editing: AI-powered proofreading tools can help you identify and correct grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and formatting inconsistencies in your resume. This ensures that your resume is error-free and presents you in the best possible light to recruiters and hiring managers.

By using AI to help create your resume, you can save time and effort while ensuring that your resume stands out to potential employers. However, it's essential to use AI as a supplement to your own efforts and insights rather than relying on it exclusively. By combining AI-generated suggestions with your unique experiences and qualifications, you can create a compelling resume that effectively showcases your value in today's competitive job market.

Our resume template includes helpful tips and prompts for using AI to help you optimise your resume. Download it here.


How should you address employment gaps in your CV?

The best way to address employment gaps on your resume is to be transparent and strategic. If the gap was due to something like furthering education, personal development, freelance or volunteer work, you can list these in the experience section of your resume. If the gap is more recent due to unemployment, it's best not to highlight it directly on the resume, but be prepared to address it honestly in an interview. You can also use a functional or skills-based resume format, which focuses more on your skills rather than chronological work history. Additionally, enhancing your skills during a gap, for example through online courses or volunteering, can demonstrate proactivity and commitment to self-improvement.


Common mistakes to avoid when creating a CV

It is very easy to make a mistake when creating your resume, below we highlight the most common mistakes people make, so that you ensure you don’t make them when writing your resume:

1. Spelling and Grammatical Errors: Use a spell-check tool and proofread your resume multiple times. It can also be helpful to have someone else review it.

2. Lack of Specifics: Use quantifiable achievements wherever possible. Instead of saying "increased sales," say "increased sales by 20% over six months."

3. Attempting One Size Fits All: Tailor your resume for each job application. Match your skills and experience to the job description keywords.

4. Too Much Text: Avoid dense blocks of text. Use bullet points and keep your statements concise.

5. Inaccurate Dates or Lies: Be truthful in all aspects of your resume. Any deceit can lead to immediate disqualification.

6. Inappropriate Length: Keep your resume to one to two pages, depending on your experience.

7. Poor Format: Use a clean, simple design that's easy to read.

8. Not Using Action Verbs: Start bullet points with action verbs like "led," "managed," "developed," etc.

9. Failure to Highlight Achievements: Focus on what you achieved in each role rather than just listing responsibilities.

10. Ignoring Gaps in Employment: If you have significant employment gaps, address them directly or be prepared to do so in an interview.


CV success: Wrapping up your guide

Crafting a compelling resume is essential for career success. By following these guidelines and leveraging AI tools effectively, you can create a standout resume that increases your chances of landing your desired job. Don't forget to regularly update your resume and consider complementing it with a well-crafted cover letter to further enhance your application.

Once you’ve created your CV, take the next step—upload your CV to our website . Our dedicated recruitment team will review your qualifications, reaching out to match you with the ideal role in the job market.

A cover letter is another way to make your application stand out, but what do hiring managers look for in a cover letter and how can you make yours stand out? Check out our complete cover letter guide and template!

 

 

 

FAQs

A cover letter is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, while a resume/CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a more detailed and comprehensive document, often multiple pages, covering your entire career, and is mainly used in academic or research settings.

No, you should not include your age or marital status on your resume, as it's not relevant to your ability to perform the job and including such personal information could potentially lead to discrimination.

Using AI to create your resume can be beneficial as it can help streamline the process, tailor your resume to specific job descriptions, and ensure you use relevant keywords to help your resume

pass through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). However, the final touches and personalissation should be done manually to reflect your unique skills and experiences accurately.

AI tools offer a variety of features that can streamline the resume creation process, from structuring and formatting to optimising content for specific job applications. Here's how you can leverage AI effectively to create an impressive resume:

1. Structured Layout and Formatting: AI-powered resume builders can assist you in designing a professional layout and format for your resume. These tools ensure consistency in design elements such as font styles, spacing, and alignment, resulting in a visually appealing document that grabs attention.

2. Keyword Optimisation: AI algorithms can analyse job descriptions and identify keywords and phrases relevant to your target industry or role. By incorporating these keywords strategically throughout your resume, you can increase the likelihood of passing through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catching the eye of hiring managers.

3. Content Suggestions: AI-driven content generation tools can provide valuable suggestions for improving the content of your resume. These suggestions may include quantifying achievements, refining language to better highlight your skills and experiences, and emphasising accomplishments that are most relevant to the job you're applying for.

4. Tailoring to Job Descriptions: AI can help tailor your resume to match the specific requirements of job descriptions. By analysing job postings and comparing them to your resume, AI tools can recommend adjustments to better align your qualifications with the needs of potential employers.

5. Proofreading and Editing: AI-powered proofreading tools can help you identify and correct grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and formatting inconsistencies in your resume. This ensures that your resume is error-free and presents you in the best possible light to recruiters and hiring managers.

By using AI to help create your resume, you can save time and effort while ensuring that your resume stands out to potential employers. However, it's essential to use AI as a supplement to your own efforts and insights rather than relying on it exclusively. By combining AI-generated suggestions with your unique experiences and qualifications, you can create a compelling resume that effectively showcases your value in today's competitive job market.

Our resume template includes helpful tips and prompts for using AI to help you optimise your resume. Download it here.

To find out what a reasonable salary is for the job and industry you are in or are thinking of moving into, use a salary Guide to discover the average pay for someone with a similar level of experience as you and view your earning potential. You can download the Robert Walters Salary Guide.

 

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