CV writing is a bit wank. Trying to convince someone to employ you is tricky business after all. You’ve got to get the balance right between being like “hey, look how awesome I am” and not coming across like a complete tool.
Lucky for you we’ve created a kick starter guide to creating an absolutely cracking CV which will show potential employers just how frickin’ ace you are and why they’d be crazy to not to give you the job.
Ready, get set, HIRED.
1) One Size Does NOT fit all!
Every job you apply for is different and so should each CV you send. I’m not suggesting you start from scratch each time. Instead, create one Master CV listing all your experience, achievements, skills etc. in full detail. Then make a second two page template which you then use to create a bespoke CV for each job you apply for by cutting and pasting the most relevant sections.
2) Introduce Yourself
Your CV should start with a profile. A short paragraph which tells your potential employer who you are, what you have to offer them and what it is you’re looking for. This should short, sharp and grab their attention. I’d recommend writing this section last as it will be
Here’s some examples to show you what I mean:
With a track record of over-achieving, this highly skilled Event Officer, with experience in end to end delivery and impact measurement, is looking for a new challenge and step up.
3) Write in third person
Some people disagree with this and it does come down to personal preference. However its generally accepted that third person sounds more professional and it also prevents two bad habits. Firstly you won’t be able to start every sentence with ‘I’ and secondly, it will discourage rambling, unnecessary sentences. Which leads me to my next point…
4) Keep it succinct
Never write paragraphs. Use bullet points wherever possible. This it far easier for the reader to get to the important information quickly. When sifting through dozens of CVs employers want fast access to information that will tell them whether or not you are a suitable candidate. Sometimes this is even done by a computer so make it easy to identify what they are looking for. You want to get the maximum amount of information in the least amount of words on the page.
5) Big it up
6) Be Active!
When outlining your responsibilities and achievements from previous roles start every sentence with a verb e.g. managed a team of 5 volunteers, controlled a budget of £1,000, developed a strategic plan. These short points get your productivity across to your reader far more effectively than lengthy sentences like ‘I was a … and I did this and a bit of this and I once did the other’.
7) Key Achievements
For each piece of work experience it is a good idea to highlight a key achievement that you personally completed during your time in the role. Whether it be implementing a new strategy, running a successful event, getting the company 1000 followers on Twitter. Whatever it may be, show them that you had a positive impact an excelled in your role.
8) Be Brutal
The temptation with CVs is to include everything you have done and achieved since the day you were born. This can be counterproductive. No matter how proud you were of your time as Chairman of Prom Committee, the reality is it won’t get you that job as an accountant – so cut it out. It won’t matter to Joe Bloggs who wants to give you a graduate job that you did a Performing Arts GCSE (even if I did get a B!) – cut it out.
9) Style AS WELL as substance
Presentation and formatting of your CV says a lot about you. Take the time to make sure all your information is presented well. Simplicity is the key. Don’t be afraid of white space, use it as a design tool. Be creative and professional in equal measure you want to stand out for the right reasons.
10) Share it!
Ask other people to read it. I know this can be daunting, CVs can be very personal. However getting feedback and constructive criticism from a range of people really helped me hone the details of my CV from grammatical errors to how things looked on the page. Particularly if you know someone that works in HR or recruitment then take advantage of their expertise!
If you would like us to review your CV for you please email us a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it back to you with notes within 5 working days.
So there you go, my top ten tips to an amazing CV! Still daunted? Want a helping hand getting started? Oh, ok then… here is an example of these tips in action. The example below is as close to mine as I could make it without making myself open to identity theft…