Tips for CV Writing

Curriculum vitae written on an blank white paper on blue background

We read thousands of CVs each year and our specialist consultants can provide feedback on how well your CV is working for you. The following notes provide general guidance around content and layout and we have a CV template that will help you to build your CV.

What information should I include on my CV?

While there is some core content that should always be on your CV, consider the need to adapt parts of the document (typically your personal statement) to increase its relevance to each job application.

1. Personal details:

You would be amazed at how many people forget to include their name, email, contact phone number and address. You need to make it easy for an employer / recruiter to contact you and please make sure you have a personal and professional greeting on your voicemail when you are job seeking. In an era of agile working you might not think that where you live is important – but its vital. Employers want to know how far you are from the office or from the centre of the area you will be covering and recruiters use your postcode to match you to future job opportunities.

2. Personal statement

This is going to help you to stand out from the crowd. It explains who you are, what you’re offering, and what you’re looking for. Aim to prove why you’re suitable in one short and succinct paragraph. Avoid cliches and use numbers for maximum impact.

For example, which of these sentences would impress you more?:

A super-star, high achiever who has wowed my colleagues ever since I joined’, or

‘Exceeded my sales target every year since joining and grown my business area by 85% over the last three years’.

 3. Work experience:

This section should include all of your relevant work experience, listed with the most recent first. Include your job title, the name of the organisation, time in post, and your key responsibilities. Using a template is the best way to structure this. You can access a CV template here.

Don’t presume that the reader knows your present employer and include a brief summary that provides context.

For example:

Sept 2018 to date

Commercial Manager                    XYZ Petfoods Ltd

XYZ Petfoods is a £15M turnover UK import and distribution business supplying a US petfood brand to UK retailers. We employ 31 people including my field sales team of 6.

My responsibilities include:

 4. Achievements:

Keep this to a maximum of 5 specific examples. Be succinct and don’t repeat what you have said elsewhere. What did you achieve and when did it happen? Make it recent and powerful.

5. Education:

Your CV needs to sell you. Think about how relevant your qualifications are for the job. Does the advert request any specific qualifications? Generally, the reader only wants to know your highest level of academic qualification and there is rarely any need to specify actual grades.

6. Hobbies and interests:

You don’t always need to include hobbies and interests in your CV but mentioning relevant ones could back up your skills and help you to stand out from the crowd – not to mention give you something to talk about at an interview. Just don’t say you enjoy socialising with friends just for the sake of including something. If it’s not going to add value, leave it out.

What words should I include in my CV?

It is challenging to sell yourself without sounding arrogant so don’t go over the top here. It is better to give examples that demonstrate your talents than just list them. Show that you are hard-working rather than just saying it. Appropriate keywords for your CV could include Accurate, Adaptable, Committed, Confident, Hard-working, Innovative, Personality, Pro-active, Reliable, Responsible.

How should I present my CV?

Your CV is the first thing an employer will see when hiring for a vacancy, and how it looks at first glance will be the reason they decide to read it in more detail. Even if your skills match the role perfectly, a messy and confusing CV probably won’t even get a second look.

To ensure you’re presenting yourself in the best light, you should always:

– Keep it short and succinct – two sides of A4 will almost always suffice.

– Choose a clear, professional font to ensure that your CV can be easily read

– Lay it out in a logical order, with sufficient spacing and clear section headings (e.g. Work experience, Education)

– Order your experience and education in reverse chronological order to highlight your most recent experience and achievements

– Check your grammar and spelling thoroughly

 

Our CV template is a good place to start. Once you have a CV we are happy to provide constructive feedback on its content and layout in order that its really working for you. Please contact info@cavendishmaine.com or go directly to one of our specialist consultants.