genYOU Inspire: How to create a CV and Cover Letter for maximum impact

We kicked off the first day of Autumn (March 1) with the launch of our genYOU Inspire series.

The session saw over 120 students, grads and young professionals join us at The Capital to learn how to build a CV and cover letter for maximum impact! Supported by Brisbane City Council, the session included three industry speakers – Tenille Alexander (Stonefish Recruitment), Bianca Berry (CANSTAR) and Brenden Rawson (Andzen).

Each of our speakers came to us with a different perspective on our topic! Tenille is a Principal Consultant at Stonefish Recruitment and specialises in temporary and contract recruitment of administrative personnel across the Brisbane market; Bianca is currently the HR Manager at CANSTAR, and has a background in Clinical and Organisation Psychology; Brenden is Managing Director of Andzen, has a strong background in all things digital and has made a name for himself building one of Australia’s leading marketing automation agencies.

So what advice did we get out of the evening? 

The background and perspectives of all three speakers made for interesting insights, tricks and hacks! Whilst there’s no way we can summarise all their wisdom an expert tips into one blog post, we’ve pulled together some of the most useful information from the session, for you!

Key points our speakers look for in CVs and cover letters.

Bianca looks at these 6 details:
> Do they have the right experience?
> When did they start their most recent job?
> How long do they stay in their roles for?
Are there any gaps in their career history?
> Where are they based?
> Are there reasons provided.

Tenille advises to keep these in mind:
> It’s not necessary to include your DOB, marital status, number of children or other personal information
> Avoid excessive ‘filler’ content – e.g.: “excellent communication skills” and “exceptional time management”
> It’s important to mention the months and year of your tenure with an employer

Brenden always looks out for these key points:
> It’s not CV ‘spam’ aka you’ve written it specifically for the role
> Errors; for certain roles where there is a high number of applications Brenden says it’s easier to first exclude those with grammatical errors and/or typos!

General “no’s” from our speakers for CVs and cover letters.

1 // Spelling mistakes and bad grammar
2 // Tardiness, or alternatively, being unreasonably early to an interview
3 // Poor phone manner
4 // Arriving to an interview with a coffee
5 // Not including your contact details
6 // Wrong attitude
7 // CVs the size of books
8 // Speaking ill of your current/ex employer
9 // Submitting your application as a word doc

Top tips for CVs and cover letters.

> Have a look at your formatting. Make sure your information is laud out in a clear and succinct manner. Try free online tools like Canva!
> Check the length of your application. Have you addressed key criteria without waffling on?
> Stand out from the crowd. Give a flavour of who you are to show the hiring person how you would fit into their culture.

> Avoid borders, pictures, headshots, clipart and any other unnecessary decoration
> Use ONE basic font throughout your CV (Arial or Calibri is recommended)
> Use clear, profession formatting and layout – avoid columns

> Do your research
> Get others to check your CV
> Be proactive and follow up

In addition to the killer tips, attendees were also treated to a heap of #genYOU goodies, bagels + nibbles and  a structured networking session!