How to write a CV

17th December 2019

So, you’ve seen a job that so right for you. You really want it. Writing a CV can make you feel stressed because you want to give yourself the best chance to be heard. Especially when they say that over 100 people apply for the same vacancy

Imagine you’re the recruiter and you have all of those CVs to go through. Do you read them all?! I don’t think so. Recruiters spend approximately 6 seconds on each CV so the first impression really does count. If your CV is clear, organized and neat then you are giving yourself more of a chance of the recruiter spending more time on your CV

Here we try to give you a hand with writing your CV

Choose the CV Format

If you want to get some ideas, look on-line. You will even find some free templates to use. You can change the layout as you go along. You may find that some sections needs more space to look clearer, others less space

The CV format should include the following sections:

  • CV header with contact information
  • Personal Profile (this is usually a brief CV summary but sometimes also includes CV objectives)
  • Skills
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Additional Sections
  • References

Keep the sections in this order

The Formatting

Keep it simple. Don’t cram loads of gimmicky graphics. Remember that CVs will be printed off in black and white so all of those graphics may make the content illegible. And whilst you may be tempted to include a photo of yourself, it’s best not to, unless it is requested. If it is requested, use a professional photo but one that’s not as stiff as an ID photo

Choose clear and legible fonts. Choosing a “fancy” font that makes it difficult for the recruiter to read will only do one thing – press the reject button. Be careful with the font size too

Be consistent with your CV layout and formatting. Choose a good margin all the way around the content. Stick to single dates formatting. You’d be surprised how many people update their CV periodically over the years without making sure that the format is consistent

Make sure your headings are slightly larger than the rest of the content. Maybe make them bold or underline them. Be careful with overuse of italics, bold and underlining

CV Header With Contact Information

  • Full name with title
  • E-mail address
  • Telephone number
  • Linkedin profile (if you have one)
  • Home address

Remember that recruiters will search your name on-line. If you have a Linkedin profile this should match your CV otherwise that reject button will be pressed again. Also, remember that employers are likely to search your name on-line via other social media platforms

Personal Profile

This is where in one short, snappy paragraph you tell your future employer why you are the best person for the job. So, this should really be tailored to each individual position being applied for, if possible

There can be two parts to the profile : the CV summary and the CV objective

The CV summary can highlight your career progress and achievements as well as specific skills you have and how you would fit in

The CV objective is more about why you’re applying for a post. What is it about your experience and the position that fits in with your future career objective. In your statement, try to make a connection between some experience or skills that you have already and the job you’re applying for. State that you would like to expand your sills or experience because of that connection rather than just saying that you would like to work in that industry or position

If you have relevant job experience begin your CV with a CV skill summary instead of a CV objective

Skills

If you feel that you would like to highlight certain skills that are prerequisites for the position then create this section. If you feel that your profile and work experience sections already cover this then you can leave this section out

Work Experience

More often than not your work experience section is the most important part of the whole CV. It is the section that gets the most eyetime

Try and keep this punchy and use bullet points. Each bullet point should be a brief description of each task. They should be a snapshot so that the recruiter can see your experience and skills at a glance. They don’t need paragraphs of detail for each task because these can be elaborated on at interview stage

Try and use action verbs  such as “created”, “implemented”, “maintained”, “analysed” etc rather than just listing duties like

Tailor your CV to the job that you are applying for. You may need to emphasise certain skills and experience and dumb down others. Try to refer to the job description and cover any tasks from it in your CV

What if you have little or no work experience? Maybe you’re still studying or just graduated. If this is the case put your education section above your work experience. Secondly, elaborate on your academic experiences:

  • Your dissertation title
  • Favourite fields of study
  • Relevant coursework
  • Your best achievements
  • Extracurricular academic activities

Education

This is as straight forward as the title: course taken, examining board, dates of study and result

Additional Sections

You can use this section to impress the recruiter, making you stand out from the crowd. This can include:

  • Key achievements
  • Industry awards
  • Professional certifications
  • Publications
  • Professional affiliations
  • Conferences attended
  • Additional training

If you are including the “Key Achievements” section, think about the wording used. For example, don’t just say “significantly increased sales” but give figures. Try and mention what the problem was, the action taken and the result. For example:

Lead a project team in designing and implementing a social media relations strategy for new line of lifestyle products (the PROBLEM and the ACTION) and grew the social media fanbase by 42,000 (the RESULT)

If you’re still studying or just finished studying, don’t worry. Here are some ideas for this section:

  • Volunteer experience
  • Hobbies and interest
  • Academic achievements
  • Personal blog

References

Have at least two references ready. If you have worked then these should be employment referees. At this moment there’s no need to list the contact details of the referees ; you can just state “references willingly supplied on request”

When eventually providing the contact details for your referees, it is always best to provide a professional, company e-mail address and not personal e-mail addresses

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