First things first, the rules to CV writing have changed, particularly with recent changes to technology. Just like choosing a dress or shoes, everyone’s personal taste is different. As someone who has read an awful lot over the last 18 years, here are a few key do‘s and don’ts to help. Some may be obvious, but you’d be surprised how easily simple things get overlooked.
- CVs are the first insight a potential employer has of you, so you need to get it right first time. Don’t assume you can mention it or prove yourself in the interview, you’ve got to get the interview first.
- Why is an employer going to choose your CV over someone else? It needs to stand out, show who you are as an individual as well as highlight your key experience and skills.
- It needs to be easy and simple to digest, if people have to read it a few times, they’ll lose the will to live.
- Bullet points and a simple layout are key. Titles, company names and dates should be bold. Don’t over complicate things, make it clean and easy to read – but no big gaps please – we want you to look your age.
- The content should be concise and relevant. No one likes to read paragraphs of waffle. The best CV’s tend to be economical with words.
- Be positive. Make sure you come across well and confident. Don’t undersell yourself.
- ALWAYS be honest. Don’t be misleading or tell porkies, it will always catch up with you.
- Make sure you grab people on page 1 otherwise they won’t get to page 2. The upper middle part of the first page is the ‘sweet spot’ so make sure you get them hooked here and sell yourself well.
- Make sure you explain clearly what you have done in your jobs. Nobody is a mind reader so don’t assume they’ll know what the role involved.
- It’s all very well listing lots of lovely skills but people want to know where and when you’ve actually used and developed these skills in real life. Ensure you add context and examples.
- Consistency is key. Make sure the layout, fonts etc. are consistent throughout and margins and fonts don’t change from page to page.
- Attention to detail. Check your grammar and spelling. Check again. Then check again. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about someone’s experience and then noticing the CV is riddled with mistakes.
- Listing your interests is a great way to give a flavour of your personality. This is your time to stand out more. Don’t write usual clichés such as ‘socialising with friends’ and try not to list too many passive things such as reading or watching TV. If you do, then mention what you like reading i.e you love a bit of Agatha and crime novels in general. List a range of interests and if you love sky diving then say. The more adventurous the better.
- Also on the subject of interests, make sure you list any that are relevant to the job. Always goes down well.
- Finally. One size does not fit all. In today’s society people have broader skill sets and if this is the case, make sure the CV you’re sending is relevant to the role you are applying for. Have a few CV’s that are more focused in specific areas ready to go.
If you need any more help, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 096 5045