Top Ten Tips to Writing a CV
Top Ten Tips to Writing a CV.
- Check Spelling and Grammar
Whilst this might seem like an obvious point to make, it is worrying how many CVs have bad spelling and grammar throughout the document.
This sends a bad message to the employer as it gives the impression that you are not diligent and your work for them could therefore be careless. It also makes the employer think that you must not care about securing the role, as you have not made he effort to do simple spell check and proof read before submitting your CV.
Even if the job you are applying for would not require you to have excellent English Skills, you should still ensure your CV is written well. If this is not a strong skill of yours, ask a friend or relative to check your CV as another eye often sees things that you have missed.
Shout about any great achievements you have made during your career history, don’t just list the main responsibilities your roles required of you.
A lot of CVs merely list in the Employment History Section the key responsibilities the candidate has had in each role. Whilst employers do want to see what your day to day duties have been, in order to set you apart from others tell them about things you have achieved too.
Add a section at the beginning listing some achievements. For example, a successful project you have been involved in, or a cost saving initiative you may have thought of, or a sales target you exceeded. Remember this document needs to show how good you are and why a company would want to hire you so don’t be afraid to show off a bit.
- Don’t be Generic
Always think about the job you are applying for before submitting your CV and ensure the information you provide is tailored to the job specification or advert.
Employers want to quickly and clearly access how your skills, experience and qualifications match up with those they are looking for, so make this easy for them. Go through the advert and the essential and desirable criteria and ensure the information on your CV marries up.
It might be a bit of extra effort from you to tweak your CV before submitting each application, but it could make the difference between your CV going on the ‘interview’ pile or the ‘reject’ pile.
- Keep it Relevant
Ensure that you only include jobs on your CV which will highlight your skills or experience relevant to the jobs you are applying for.
Don’t include every job you have ever done; employers do not need to know about your paper round when you were 15 if it is not going to be beneficial to securing the job you want.
The only time you need to add jobs which are not of direct relevance would be when you are applying for roles in a new industry or to show why you have gaps in your CV.
- Stay Current
Ensure your contact details and job information is fully up to date. There is nothing more frustrating for an employer to see a great CV which fits all their criteria, only to email and/or call the person and receive a returned email or a phone which is switched off.
For every person who cannot be reached there will be 4 who can and the employer will quickly move on to someone who has made the effort t ensure their contact details are correct.
It is also important t ensure that the information on your CV is up to date before you apply for a role. For example if it states you presently work for a Company but when you reach the interview you advise them that you actually left four months ago but hadn’t updated your CV, you are giving an instant impression to the employer that you are careless and not proactive by failing to provide them with an updated version.
- Short and Sweet
The honest truth is employers are busy people, pressed for time and they don’t want to read a 4 page document; they will get bored by page 2. Therefore; keep it succinct, including only the best, most interesting information.
If it becoming too long, think about what you are including and remove anything which does not show case your skills or match those the job advert is requesting you demonstrate.
Try and include the most interesting and impressive information towards the start of the CV as this is when you will have the employers greatest attention.
- Fill the Gaps
If there are gaps in your career history due to travelling, having a family, or any other reason, briefly explain this on your CV.
Gaps in CVs are unnerving to employers as it instantly creates uncertainty; therefore it is always best to explain why there have been gaps so that they gain a real feel for you and your working life.
You don’t necessarily have to go in to a lot of detail or add it to the Employment History section in chronological order, just add an additional section explaining the gaps.
- Be Creative
No, we don’t mean lie about your skills and experience but rather write your CV in such a way that it is really selling you as a candidate.
Use positive, descriptive words to highlight your style of working rather than just telling the employer what you have done in your career history. For example say things like ‘I effectively completed the tax returns for 25 clients’ or ‘I thoroughly and diligently conduct all my work in order to ensure minimal complaints’ or ‘I effectively managed a team of 4 sales representatives ensuring they reached their sales targets each month’.
Remember you are selling yourself don’t be afraid to get creative.
Employers do like to find a bit about your interests outside of the working environment as it can give great insight into the type of character you have; however be mindful about what you include as they can paint a picture of what you would be like to work with and manage.
For example, try and add activities which show you are a team player like being on a sporting team or member of a group rather than ones which show you to be passive such as watching films or reading.
Also try to avoid any hobbies which could cause offence like taxidermy or hunting.
If you are going to add the details of your references ensure there is at least one from a previous employer, preferably your current or most recent employer.
If one of the references is your current employer ensure you make it clear if you have consent to the recruiting company to conduct them as this could cause huge problems for you especially if thy do not know you are job hunting.
The trend on CVs now is merely to state ‘References Available on Request’ this way you will usually only provide details when you have been offered a role which is safer.
Written by Elizabeth Gee.