There is a huge range of advice about how to write a good CV, but even in the digitally driven world in which we now are, its safe to say it is still a critical tool in any job search. So we’ve put together a definitive guide to assist you in creating the ultimate CV.
Whether you’re looking for a contract or permanent role, you want your CV to clearly promote your skills, experience and achievements so that you stand out from the crowd and get shortlisted for interview.
So, what is going to get you that interview?
Focus on the basics:
It is standard practice to structure your CV content in this order:
- Start with your name and contact details
- Include a short profile highlighting your key strengths and skills relevant to the type of roles you are applying for.
- Follow this with your employment history. Summarise each job with your current or most recent first as this is the most relevant.
- Give details of your qualifications, professional memberships and any training courses attended. Also list specific technical/product expertise.
- Include a list of hobbies/interests – just to give an insight into you as a person but don’t go into details.
- Lastly include two work references, their positions in relation to you and dates you worked with them. We will need to contact them at some stage before you start any new position.
2. How long should your CV be?
Try to keep it short, two to four pages if possible. This number of pages gives ample space to clearly communicate your work experience, achievements and education – whatever level of role you may be applying for. Four pages would probably only be needed for someone with a number of years' experience to promote.
3. Make it easy to read
- Don’t make the text too small – reduce the amount of text rather than using a very small font size.
- Remember that people scan for key information so if your CV is too long, vital experience can get missed.
- Use bullet points and sub headings to make finding information easy.
- Avoid including colour, lots of different fonts and text sizes as well as too much formatting – keep it simple.
It’s an obvious one but there really is no excuse for spelling and grammar mistakes, it just shows a lack of attention to detail. Once you’re happy with the content then use spellchecker to ensure all content is correct.
5. Review your CV regularly
It is worth reviewing the content if you can for each individual role you apply for – as each job may require you to place more emphasis on particular skills or attributes to really impress the company.
So you’ve got the basics, what next?
Here are some more detailed tips to ensure you promote yourself in the best way possible.
1. Your Profile:
- Recruiters and hiring managers tend to focus on the top third of the first page of your CV, so they may only read on if your profile gets their attention quickly. So include positive examples of how you have helped the companies you have worked with make money, save money, save time, grow the business and/or maintain their business.
- While personal attributes are important, your profile should focus on differentiating you from the competition.
- Try to use positive words. For example, to convey growth, try propelled, accelerated, increased, added and optimised.
- Try to use the keywords and phrases that are important to the role you are looking for.
- Finally ask yourself this - If your profile was the only section of your CV anyone could read, is it enough to secure an interview?
2. Your work experience:
- Include more detail about your current job than any other.
- Each job should have a heading including job title, company name and start/finish dates, (month and year is sufficient).
- Include key achievements for each job – not just a list of responsibilities.
- Keep these achievements short - just enough so companies want to know more as you want to have something to tell them at interview.
- Your most recent experience is of the most interest, so focus on the last 5-10 years.
- Technical skills and specific product knowledge should all be highlighted. Also show how these benefited your employers.
3. Your education and technical skills:
- Include all qualifications – with emphasis placed on those relevant to the type of role you are looking for.
- Also include relevant professional affiliations and any active part you have played as a member of these.
- Include any volunteering you have been involved in, again highlighting any achievements.
- Check that your CV reads clearly and you have included all relevant information.
- Email us your CV and make sure it is in Word format, as we need to be able to format into a standard style.
- If you get an interview then make sure you are very familiar with your CV beforehand. By doing so you will be well prepared and able to confidently answer questions on all aspects of your work, achievements and education.
The team at Park Street People are happy to provide feedback on your CV, however by following our tips, yours should definitely deliver the results you want!
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