Laura from our People team gives her tips on how to perfect your CV.CVs, Resumés, Curriculum Vitae; whatever you want to call them, they can be incredibly dull to write and if you’re writing one for the first time it can take longer than you ever expect. Don’t let it be a case of ‘let’s just get this done’ and in doing so lose your personal style and the brilliant information about you that you want to share with your new employer.
First impressions do count, it's important to get it right; your CV is your ticket to receiving an invitation to interview. This is your personal advert, and if written well, it will save the heartache of rejection after rejection when applying for jobs.
Your CV must contain the right information for the job that you’re applying for, so be prepared to tweak it each time you apply for a new job, maybe mimic the language they use in their advert and highlight your key skills and experience that match what they’re looking for. From an employer’s point of view, there’s nothing worse than reading a CV that’s not relevant to the job that they’re recruiting for. (This is a quick way to not get selected for an interview!)
Having worked in recruitment for many years, let me share with you some tips that will be helpful when writing your CV.
Don't put the words Curriculum Vitae or CV at the top- we know what this document is and to be honest your just wasting valuable space.
Don't put the words Curriculum Vitae or CV at the top - we know what this document is and to be honest, you’re just wasting valuable space.
Do have your name, your professional job title and your contact details (you only need to put your email address and mobile phone number) don't include your home address, you know it’s 2019, right? Oh and whilst I’m on the subject of email addresses, are sure your email address is something you’d consider professional - I’m talking to you fuzzybunny69!
Do add a link to your LinkedIn profile (but only if it's up to date!) consider your own brand and update the personal URL.
Don’t put your picture on your CV, this isn’t necessary unless of course, you’re applying to be a model.
This is the bit where you can show off your personality, a great opportunity to provide a few sentences about yourself; including your strengths, achievements and career aspirations. This is one of the most important sections of your CV and therefore should be written fresh each time you apply for a job, so you can showcase your skills in every application. Keep it short and succinct.
Don't underestimate the power of a well-written personal statement!
Beware: Don’t include contradictory sentences. "I am a great team player, and get along with others, I also work well on my own."
This just gives the impression that you aren't quite sure what your strengths are.
The quickest way to get your CV into the shredding bin is to use cliche's such as “I have a great attention to detail”. So try to avoid them at all costs!
Also, be careful of the top ten overused words on Linkedin!
List your qualifications, with the most recent first. Include any relevant professional qualifications (if you have them) or any awards you may have received during school, college or university.
Do list your previous jobs, most recent first. There’s nothing worse than reading a CV with old jobs first. Also ensure that the most relevant information is kept to the first page, as employers don’t generally read your whole CV and they aren't interested in a part-time job you did during your school holiday when you were 15.
What they are interested in, is your most recent and relevant experience, unless of course, this is the only job you’ve had. If you’ve completed an internship, don't forget to include these too, as they can provide employers with insight into your workplace experience. Don’t forget any voluntary work you have completed either; sports coaching, charity fundraising; it all count towards experience.
Outline of role
The recruiter can take a good guess at the experience you have gained from a job title but help them along and don’t assume they’ll fill in the gaps – tell them about the jobs you’ve had, I suggest you break it down into key responsibilities and key achievements.
Outline whether you were responsible for people management, budgets, projects, etc.
Recruiters want to learn about what you have actually done, so where possible back up achievements with facts and figures e.g. "implemented improvements within the recruitment process, cutting down the average time to recruit from 6 weeks to 2 weeks, this led to a cost saving of £500 per new recruit"
Only include your interests if they make you sound interesting! Are you a keen sportsperson or have a wild and wonderful hobby?
Listing hobbies, such as reading, watching TV give future employers the impression that you may lack social skills. What does socialising with friends really mean?
When your interests are relevant to a job, this can provide a more rounded picture of you and give you something to talk about during your interview.
Our final top tips
Spell check and double-check for grammatical errors, even if you’ve read it a million times, get someone else to read through it. Once they’ve read it and highlighted any errors, read it one word at a time. Print it out, mark any mistakes, read each word slowly and separately out loud.
Employers receive a very large number of applications for jobs, they’re looking for quick and easy ways to reduce the number. Spelling mistakes are an easy filter for employers to use.
Employers don’t read your full CV so try to keep it to no more than 2 sides of A4.
And finally, don’t ever lie on your CV! It’s really obvious, but you could land your dream job and then end up out on your ear because they caught you out.