CV Writing Tips
There is no 'best' or 'correct' way to complete a CV, even though many people will try to tell you there is. We have extensive experience in recruiting roles for graduates all the way up to chief executives; when compiling your CV it is important to consider what will make you stand out from other applicants.
Here are some of our CV writing tips to enable you to do this:
Your CV is a marketing tool
Remember that your CV, whether sent by post or email, will be your first introduction to your prospective employer or recruiter. You will not be there to explain anything, or to fill in any gaps, so your CV has to represent the best of who you are.
Convince the person reading your CV that you have the right skills for the job by providing evidence of previously gained skills and experience. If applying for different types of positions, tailor your CV to each position you apply for.
The length of your CV will, to a certain extent, reflect the amount of experience that you have. Don’t try to make the information fit onto two pages for the sake of it, however bear in mind that the longer you make your CV the higher the chance will be that your prospective employer or recruiter may miss an important piece of information hidden within the document.
Make every word count
Be concise and positive when describing your job history and your achievements. Avoid the usual strings of glowing adjectives and instead give real examples of what you have actually achieved.
- Meaningless platitudes such as 'charismatic leadership qualities' or 'team player'.
- Narrative prose.
- Terms such as 'involved in' and 'assisted' – you must be precise.
- Vague achievements such as 'improved' or 'enhanced' – replace with something more specific to quantify what you actually achieved, e.g. increased turnover by 20 per cent, managed six people, cut costs by 15 per cent.
Pay attention to the key words in your CV and try to give them added value. For example, instead of using the word 'appointed' try 'promoted' or 'selected'. 'Ran a programme' could become 'created and developed', conveying a much more powerful message. Make every word work for you.
LegibilityChoose a clear, readable typeface with plenty of white space and avoid gimmicky graphics. When emailing, use fonts that are widely available such as Arial – alternative fonts may look more appealing but only if your recipient also has access to them. Highlight key words (e.g. job titles, organisations, qualifications) by using bold type, but avoid overuse of these techniques so they don’t lose their impact. Lay the CV out attractively allowing plenty of space – don't cram everything together as this will make the CV difficult to read. Bullet point your CV, as opposed to writing in full paragraphs. Remember the reader may have many CVs to read so you need to make sure that your key achievements stand out from the page.
These are just some of the CV writing tips that we recommend our candidates to follow when compiling their CVs. If you'd like to find out further CV writing tips or if you have any other queries, speak to one of our consultants who will be able to advise you.