CV Writing Advice

When looking for alternative employment your CV is arguably the most important document in your life!  Yet its importance is often over-looked. There seems to be a tendency to rush CV's and we frequently see CV's that are poorly written which leave us and more importantly our clients with a very easy decision to move on to the next CV.

Tailor your CV for each role you apply to, please take great care to understand the role your applying for and pick out key areas in your experience to highlight your suitability.

Your CV is usually the only thing that potential employers see before they make a decision, a decision that for you is potentially life changing.  So make sure your CV is thought through and well written.  The CV is a document that proves why you are the ideal candidate to invest their time and money in. Essentially it is a sales brochure, pinpointing the unique selling points that make you stand out from the crowd. Remember, recruiters and hiring managers alike will spend as little as 15 seconds scanning your CV.

There is no universally accepted format, however your CV should cover the following elements:

  • Contact Details 
    Include your name, address, telephone numbers, both landline and mobile and email address in order for any interested employers can contact you easily.
  • Key Achievements 
    Tell potential employers, in hard facts, what your key achievements are. Perhaps you've made £1m of savings or designed a product that sold $10m, what ever it is make it tangible. This provides potential employers a very good reason to read more of your CV. 
  • Personal Statement 
    Once again this paragraph should grab the attention of the reader and entice them to find out more about you. Be careful not to pack too much information into this paragraph, instead ensure to highlight your main skills and relate it to the position you are applying for to show the employers why you meet their needs.
  • Education 
    In reverse chronological order, detail your academic and professional qualifications along with the grades you achieved and where you achieved them. 
  • Skills 
    Whether you realise it or not, you will have gained many skills over the years, some tangible, some less so. Include every IT package or programme you have used both universally recognised and in-house as well as any foreign language skills and state whether you’re at a basic, intermediate or advanced level. Skills such as communication and project management are harder to substantiate therefore these should be evidenced by examples.
  • Work Experience
    List your most recent position first, continuing in reverse chronological order, including dates, name, position held and website for each company you have worked for. Use bullets points and not paragraphs wherever possible to highlight your responsibilities and achievements in each role. This will enable the person reading your CV to quickly match up your experience with their job description.
  • Hobbies & Interests 
    Including these is optional and are often used to fill up space at the end of the document. The idea is to give the interviewer a more rounded picture and maybe something more personal to discuss at an interview.  That said, if you are looking for employment within the motorsport industry, for example, then it would be a good idea to state an interest in motorsport.
  • References 
    It’s not critical that you list references on your CV, however you should state that details are available on request. If this is your first job, it is a good idea to nominate tutors or mentors as referees. You should choose references that you’re confident will give positive remarks and you should also ensure they would be easily contactable by potential employers when the time comes.
  • And finally.... Check for spelling mistakes and typographical errors. Any errors are your responsibility and are one of the first things employers use to weed out the weaker candidates. Even if the role you’re applying for doesn’t require a high level of literacy, spelling errors scream lack of care, which is an undesirable quality for any potential employer. Don’t put all your faith into a spellchecker as many of these are set to American settings as default. If you’re at all unsure about a word look it up in a dictionary.

Before you distribute your finished document or upload it onto the internet, get someone else to look over it for you.


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