Writing a CV can often be a daunting task and a bit of a minefield. If you are struggling then making a spider diagram or jotting down bullet points can help you to put your thoughts onto paper and organise your mind.
Whether you are creating your first CV or you haven’t written one in what seems like forever, follow the simple steps below and you will be well on your way.
Use a professional and up to date format – Think of your CV as a personal brochure highlighting your skills and experience which presents you in the best possible way to a potential employer. You don’t need to use fancy fonts and colours for your CV to stand out, ensure you are consistent throughout with fonts, headings, date formats, etc. Make sure your CV is laid out clearly so it is easy to read and gives all the relevant information, avoid using CV templates, they look generic and when uploaded to job boards the formatting can be altered. Avoid having large chunks of writing – the use bullet points and short sentences help keep it to the point and hold the attention of the reader.
Don’t be afraid to make your CV longer than one page – whilst you do not need page upon page of information and it is important to keep the content within your CV brief and to the point, if you have been working for over 15 years don’t feel the need to cut down your achievements in order to squeeze it all on to one page. – Two or even three pages is fine.
Make your personal statement stand out – This should be a short paragraph (about 4-6 lines long) about who you are, what you have to offer, and what your career goals are. This is the first thing that employers will read, so showcase your most impressive skills that are relevant to the roles and industry you are applying for. Remember avoid using “I” or your name – always use third person.
Use industry keywords in your CV – many employers and recruiters use keywords to find candidates, therefore to give yourself the best chance of appearing in the searches and catching their eye try to include keywords to the role and industry you are applying for, although do be careful not to overdo it, and be sure to keep any keywords relevant to your experience.
Keep things professional – don’t be negative about your previous employers or jobs. Try to draw on all the skills you have learnt from the role and company and remain professional.
Use statistics – show your quantifiable achievements, for example let potential employers and recruiters know how many staff you are responsible for, or what volume of phone calls you are making per day, or the number of clients you are managing, or the volume of invoices you are processing per week.
Make sure your content is relevant – Firstly include all of your contact details, including your name, address and contact telephone number. When listing your education and employment history always ensure you start with your most current role and your highest level of education – this is the information you want employers to see first so make sure your CV is laid out this way. When listing your employment history it is clearest to lay it out by giving your company name, your role title and the dates you were there, then list: (again – bullet points are great for keeping it short and to the point) your responsibilities, results achieved, training you undertook in the role and software you had to use within the role. An “Interests” section on your CV can also make you stand out where you can include any hobbies.
Make sure you have double checked for any errors and that your content flows – read your CV out loud, you will be more likely to pick up on any mistakes you have made before your potential employers do. It never hurts to ask someone else to proof read your CV.