CV Writing Guide

We know that a bad CV can prevent you from getting an interview. The difference between good and bad CV is a little extra time spent in preparation. To help you if you are in the middle of redrafting or creating a new CV, we have created this handy CV Writing Guide.

A CV isn’t supposed to be a work of art, nor is it the place for gimmicks. It should clearly highlight your skills and experience, showing the reader your suitability for the role.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set way to write a CV. But, there are a number of things that can negatively affect the perception of the reader. This CV Writing Guide that will ensure you have an effective CV:

Presentation Is Important

The way that your CV looks is just as important as the content. Remember that your potential employer will be reading 50-100 CVs. If it is unorganised or has too much information then it becomes difficult to read. Resulting in your CV going to the bottom of the pile! Keeping it concise with a clear layout will ensure that all of your hard work is read.

But, what do we mean by a ‘concise with a clear layout’? Well, there are many tips on CV presentation and here are our top 5 key points:

  1. Bold key terms like your name, date, name of employers, and job titles.
  2. Carefully think about your layout. Use subtitles so the reader knows what information is next and leave plenty of space in-between paragraphs. Bullet pointing key information is important as well.
  3. Use a professional font, it makes it easier to read!
  4. There is no set length for a CV. But, a general rule of thumb is that after 2 pages’ people have a tendency to become bored. Keep your it short and snappy, so that it arouses the interest of the reader.
  5. Try to use a good standard of English, avoiding a conversational tone, slang or professional jargon. If you struggle with this, get someone with a good command of English to proofread your CV.

Personal Statements: First Impressions Count!

The first thing that an employer will read is your personal statement. So, it is imperative that this section of your CV makes you stand out from the crowd!

Ideally, this short paragraph will highlight why you are the best candidate for the role. By explaining a little bit about yourself, any unique skills that you offer and what you are looking for in your career. These skills and experiences should be reflected in the covering letter that you create for each role.

Employment History

Your employment history should always be tailored to the role you’re applying to. Many of us are tempted to list every detail of our professional experience, however this makes a CV long and less relevant. We recommend that you research into the company to establish which key skills, competencies and experiences/duties that you should point out to them.

It is also important that you showcase any achievements that you had during your previous employment. These can include awards, hitting particular targets or even special projects that you worked on. Back up each achievement with facts and figures to better sell yourself!

In terms of presentation, you’ll want to list your employment history in reverse chronological order, ensuring that the most recent is first. For example:

Feb 2018-Present             ABC Ltd                General Managerager

  1. Responsibility
  2. Achievement: Increased inbound leads by 65% over a 6 month period

Feb 2016- January 2018                   FGH Ltd                Assistant manager

  1. Duty
  2. Accomplishment: Was awarded an internal top-seller award on 4 occasions. Generating X amount for the business.

For job-seekers that are looking for their first opportunity or are changing career, try to include as much relevant experience as possible. This can include vocational training and extracurricular commitments e.g. being a trainer for a local football club. It will show that you have valuable transferable skills.

Try to not include reasons as to why you have left previous roles, as the reader may interpret this negatively. But, we advise that you explain any long-term gaps in your work history.

Education

It is a good idea to list your education and respective achievements. The layout for this section will be similar to that of your employment history.

However, depending on your situation, you may want to place more emphasis on this section. For example, if you have recently left education and do not have a lot of work experience. Placing an emphasis on your experience during education will highlight your suitability for the role.  

Extracurricular Activities

Although you want to keep this section short, we do encourage that you include your hobbies. As they are a way to showcase your personality on your CV. Think about any interests that have a direct bearing on your suitability for the role or that are a little unique – remember that you want your CV to be unique to you!

References

There is no need to include full references in your CV, as they tend to be requested by the employer after your interview. Simply put ‘References Available On Request’ at the end of your CV.

It Is Finished!

After you have written your CV you might think that it is finished. However, every role that you apply for is different and you will want to tailor it to each. This is vital in order to stand out and ensure that your CV is read.

Use your research into the company and their job advert to match yourself to their specification. Key areas that you can tailor your CV:

  1. Showcasing your understanding of the job requirements
  2. Your unique qualities that show you match the work culture
  3. Specific skills that you have, backed up with real-life examples
  4. Any experience that you have in their area of work

You will also want to creat a tailored covering letter for each position that you apply for. This is another opportunity for you to make a great first impressions, whilst quickly selling yourself for the position.


We hope you have found our CV writing guide helpful, remember that there is no set way to write your CV. However careful planning is the key to success, if you are looking for additional support don’t hesitate in contacting us today on 0116 262 3733. Alternatively, have a look at our resource centre for free guides and infographics.

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