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How to write a great CV

How to write a great CV

Posted on 8/07/2015 by Charlene Bennett

Blank notepad page with pencil

Deciding that you might apply for a new job is a massive decision. The next step of writing a CV can be enough to put people off altogether but it really shouldn’t.

Writing your CV can seem like a daunting task but if you have armed yourself with the facts, it can be easier than you think.

Here are some quick tips to help you get the best CV you possibly can.

Things to consider:

  • Keep it simple - The person who will end up reading your CV might have yours and hundreds of others to look at. So you need yours to get your information over in a clear and easy to read way. If it’s cluttered and hard to follow, it won’t get read at all.
  • Follow the trend - The best way of laying out your CV is to follow the trend, then the reader won’t get lost working out your new exciting layout – unless you are applying for a creative job i.e. Graphic Designer, then you can go for it in an attempt to impress them by showcasing your skills.

Things to do:

Start with your key information. Make yourself easy to contact by having your personal details at the top of the page in the centre - name, address, phone number, email address and LinkedIn details.

Mini personal profile.Have a few sentences to explain yourself and your motivations. This should be about your work character and skills only. Keep it snappy and upbeat, don’t just list lots of buzz words.

You can now choose if you list your qualifications next or save them until after your work history. I would recommend listing your qualifications before your history if you’ve not been in the work place for long. If you have a lot of experience, your qualifications are relevant, but your work history is more so. When showing your qualifications list them with the most recent at the top and then order by best results first. Remember to include professional.

Work history. This should be documented with your most recent/current job first. Start each job with these details in bold on one line: your job title, company name, dates of employment. Then write a paragraph to document your role; responsibilities, targets, skills and achievements. It needs to factually showcase your abilities.

If you have done different roles at one company, list them all as if they were for different employers.If you have progressed within a role, for example you started as a marketing administrator, then became the marketing executive and then marketing manager, you can show this as one job but detail the progression and length of time within each stage.

Hobbies and interests. This section can tell the reader a lot about your personality and motivations, as well as how you might fit into their team culturally. Don’t make anything up to look impressive but think about how what you write could be interpreted.

It is really important that your references fit with your CV. Ideally, you should have two referees, one from your current/most recent job and one from your job before that. If you’re just entering the world of work, pick people who can back up how motivated and reliable you are.

Always, always:

  • Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. It’s important that your skills and experience are relevant to each job application, rather than sending the same generic CV out every time.
  • Check and double check. Avoid silly errors by taking a fresh look at your CV the day after finishing it and ask someone for a second opinion.

Things to avoid:

  • A photo. Don’t add a photo of yourself to your CV, keep it simple. If an employer wants to research you further before meeting you, they will look at your LinkedIn profile.
  • Repeating information. You have limited space to get everything across, don’t use it up by repeating information.
  • Leaving out your dates of employment. Don’t forget to include the length of time you spent at each company. The reader will want to build up a picture of where you have worked and for how long.
  • Your date of birth. Due to the Age Discrimination Act you don’t need to include your age or date of birth on your CV.  

If you are looking for work within any of these areas:

  • Accountancy
  • Finance
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Office
  • HR
  • Legal

We will gladly do a free CV review for you. Just drop us an email, attaching your CV to: hello@vanillarecruitment.co.uk