CV Writing Techniques
Why spend time on your CV? Well, until you get an interview with a potential employer, your CV is their only insight into who you are and what you have to offer. This makes your CV and covering letter absolutely crucial. It’s a competitive market and if your CV doesn't appeal to employers then you won't get the interviews, and no interviews equals no job offers.
How to write a CV
- First you need to identify your skills, qualifications and experience. What are your unique selling points and strengths? Why choose you over everyone else? What makes you the best person for this job?
- If you’re replying to a specific job advert, look for the key responsibilities and skills in the advert and make sure you show these skills in your CV.
- Don’t over-elaborate – this is a common mistake people make. Your CV should tell your potential employer enough to gain their interest, but not so much that it bores them. Provide bite sized chunks of information that can be processed easily. Keep it concise and relevant. It should be an absolute maximum of three pages, two is better and one is perfect if you can.
- A CV that is badly laid out and poorly written will almost always be ignored. So make sure your CV looks professional and is easy to read, and always, always, always check your spelling!
- This should include your personal details, your address and contact details at the top, followed by a short profile (no more than five lines) about you and your key skills. This profile can be tailored for each job you apply for so that it shows your particular skills in that area.
- Next you should cover your employment history in reverse chronological order (most recent job first). Include your company, job title and dates worked, as well as a brief description of your role and responsibilities. If there are gaps in your employment history of more than three months then include those and explain why you weren't working (illness, travelling, looking for a new role etc). For your most recent positions you may want to have a few bullet points listing your most significant experiences/achievements in this role.
Pages Two (& Three)
- The next page(s) should continue your employment history if necessary and then cover a brief summary of your education and qualifications, again in reverse chronological order.
- Next you can list your hobbies and interests if you feel they are relevant or interesting, but try to keep this to a maximum of three lines. Try to be specific, don't just say you have an interest in music for example, try to give some detail of the types of music you like and why. List any voluntary or charity work that you do as this is always a positive indicator for employers of the type of person you are.
- Finally your CV should give details of two referees, at least one of which should be a recent employer. If you aren't comfortable supplying these details immediately then you can always state that referees are available on request.
The Covering Letter
A CV always works best alongside a covering letter and where a CV should stick very much to facts, your covering letter is where you can let your personality shine through and where you can tell potential employers exactly why you are the right person for the job.
If you’re in any doubt about how to write a CV or what to include then feel free to send it to us and we'll give you all the advice and help you need.
Click here for a printable pdf copy of this information.
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