How to write a CV
What does your CV really say about you?
Recruitment consultants see a vast amount of CV’s daily that vary drastically in professionalism. There are some instant things that will prevent someone from continuing to read your CV, read more to find out what our own consultants think you should and should not include. Once you finish writing your CV don’t be too eager in sending it off, you need to double check what it is actually saying about you. It may only be seconds that a recruiter actually looks at it before they decide if you are right or not!
This may seem like the most obvious bit of information to include on your CV but they are often left incomplete or not included at all! They need to be up to date and displayed clearly, ensure your voicemail on your phone works so that you can receive messages and make sure you call them back as quickly as you can. When including your email address on your CV, it must be one that will come across professional and not juvenile. Instead of any nicknames try having your first and last name followed by your email provider domain.
When outlining your skills it may not be relevant to include each and every skill you believe yourself to have. Try tailoring the skills that are appropriate for a role by using their requirements in the job description, for example; don’t talk about your skills in PHP development if you’re applying for a java role. Back up the skills you have mentioned by showing examples of how you have gained it or developed them.
When writing about yourself keep it brief and relevant to the job you are applying for. There’s a chance this will be the first thing a potential employer reads so it needs to encompass your personality and goals in a succinct manner.
There are many standard phrases that get used and overused when describing themselves that actually mean something else when they are read by an interviewer or prospective employer. It is a good idea to avoid using them word for word and think a little more about how you can make it sound more unique. Alternatively try using more positive words when talking about a situation such as ‘achieved’, ‘improved’ or ‘trained’. These words help to show the difference you have made in a positive way.
“I love to think outside the box”
This comes across as the exact opposite, and that you couldn’t think of an original way to say this.
“I’m a serial entrepreneur”
All the businesses you have set up have never lasted longer than a year and you are now in need of a ‘proper’ job.
“I’m a team player”
You have managed to speak to the other people in your office.
You don’t care if you get the job or not.
“I’m looking for a new challenge”
You think you’re going to be fired imminently.
“I’m an innovative thought-leader”
You’ve managed to get 50 views on something you posted on LinkedIn and are saying the same thing as everyone else just shouting a bit louder.
“I’m hard working”
An example of working hard would have been finding an alternative way to say this phrase.
“I have a wide range of skills”
You’re not really good at anything.
“I love working in a fast-paced environment”
You survived a really busy Thursday once.
“I like socialising with friends”
You’re actually a bit boring.
“I like to work hard and play hard”
You’re probably not a pleasant person to be around.
Start with your current or most recent position and then go back to the first work you did, spacing them out enough so they are defined.
Make sure it clearly states your position held, the company name and the dates you were there. You can then explain what you did in each job, with bullet points to make it clear and easy to read; including your duties, starting with those most relevant to the role you are applying for.
Education and Qualifications
In chronological order list out all of your qualifications and training you have done, for those more relevant to the role you are applying for, add in more detail about what it was and what you did to get it. Other than that don’t include too much detail about what you did at school 10 years ago as the employer will not find it interesting or relevant.
Here is where you can give more information that is relevant but will not fit elsewhere, such as; drivers licence, car owner, willingness to travel, whether or not you are willing to work shifts.
Hobbies and interests
It is reccomended to only include this if it is relevant, although only keep in details that will be appropriate to include and beneficial. For example, show where you have been in a position of trust or responsibility if you don’t have much work experience. If you can’t think of any interest or hobbies that would be appropriate then you could take this section out completely and just use the space gained for more information relating to your skills.
This is an important part of the later stages of finding a job. It is necessary to always include that references are available upon request on your cv and not limit them to what you provide as they may be after one from a particular role. Make sure you keep in contact with your referees in order to keep their details up to date. It’s never good to be in a situation where you have been offered a job but your referrer can’t be reached!
- Try not to go for eye-catching in the wrong way, for example, formatting your CV to be landscape or on coloured paper is not convenient for those reading it.
- Tailoring your CV to be perfect for the role you are applying for will make it far more likely to be read and received well.
- It needs to be easy to read and well written in order for it to stand out amongst 100 others with similar experience. If you have more experience try to keep it to a maximum of three pages and two if you have less.
- Stay away from confusing layouts and it is more likely to be read completely.
- Spell check not only yourself but send it to someone else as well! It’s never bad to get another opinion. Mistakes with spelling and grammar will instantly put people off your profile.
- No white lies! Even a simple lie about playing the piano will come back to bite you in the end. It may have impressed someone in the beginning but if it were to come out it would just paint you as dishonest.
- Keep it simple with black text size 11 in either Calibri or Arial on a white background.
- Know every inch of your CV back to front, the interviewer will ask you about every section and you need to be able to elaborate further without having it in front of you
Hopefully you now feel confident with your CV you can read our other blog posts with interview tips and how to answer questions you may find difficult.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0208 464 8000 to speak to one of our consultants!