If you walk into any recruitment agency in Wolverhampton they will tell you that the difference between you landing the interview for your dream role or not is all in your CV. A curriculum vitae is a personal document that you will use to showcase yourself and your skill set. It will give potential employers a quick snapshot of who you are, so you should use it wisely. Nearly all job advertisements will ask for a CV and a covering letter. So how do you write a CV that is going to help you get that job that you desperately want? Here are eleven tips to get you started on writing that killer CV.
1 – Everyone’s CV should be different but there is a typical format that most people follow with different categories. Ensure that yours is clear and concise. Use a font that is easy to read and try to keep it to no more than 2 A4 pages. The company that you are applying to will most likely receive lots of applications and if they need to read through several pages to find out just a little bit about you then you may find that yours ends up at the bottom of the pile! Standard categories are – personal information, education and qualifications, work history and experience, achievements, own interests and hobbies and also references. If you are posting your application then use a A4 envelope to keep it from becoming creased.
2 – A prospective employer’s eye is going to automatically go to the top, middle section of your CV so this is where your personal contact information should be. Years ago most people added their full address here but now it isn’t necessary, however you should include the town where you reside. Use your name as the tile rather than the words Curriculum Vitae. Try to make this stand out as it is the first bit people will see so you are wanting to grab their attention from the word go. Also ensure that you include your telephone numbers and email address so that they are able to contact you.
3 – Always make sure that you tailor your CV for the specific role you are applying for. Have a base CV saved on your computer that you can amend for different applications. Have a thorough read through the advertisement, making note of all their lists of requirements; take notes and then change your CV accordingly. Remember Saturday jobs you had whilst in school or any volunteer work you have done all count towards your experience and skill set.
4 – Your personal profile is probably the most important part of your whole CV. This tells the employer about you and your personality. They want to know what you can offer their company so don’t be afraid to tell them all your good qualities. Let them know that you are a team player or a stickler for time keeping. Tell them about the time you ran a project all by yourself. This is the one time you can blow your own trumpet!
5 – When writing about your previous education, list the school, college or university you attended in reverse order so the most recent one is at the top. Let them know the exams you took and the grades you achieved. If you have taken further qualifications since being out of education then make sure you list these too. Employers will take note that you have continued your education to gain valuable skills.
6 – When you are writing your previous job experience, as with education, list these in reverse order too, with the most recent one being first. With each one make sure to list the employer, the position you held and the dates you started and ended that position. From there you can bullet point the key responsibilities that you undertook. Don’t forget to include any accomplishments or awards that you received whilst there. Try to choose the main key duties that relate to the position you are now applying for. If you are older and have had several roles then you can choose to list just the previous ten years experience.
7 – When writing your key skills list any abilities or skills you have that you haven’t been able to share in your personal profile or employment history. Are you a whizz with Microsoft Excel? Can you touch type a large amount of words in a minute? Have you started a new group within your community? Share away and let yourself shine!
8 – Most people like to include a “Hobbies and Interest” section on their CV and this is perfectly acceptable. Try to steer away from “I like hanging out with my friends” or “I like to go out at weekends” Choose your hobbies and interests that will help show that you would be a good fit for their working environment. Whether that be that you regularly play a team sport or you attend a class every week.
9 – Always include at least two references at the end of your CV. This would preferably be two past employers that are contactable. If this is the first role that you are applying for then your references could be your previous teachers or university professors or someone from your community. Make sure to include their contact details and their job title.
10 – Always use positive language throughout the whole of your CV. Focus on what you can do and what you can help them with. Use words such as, organised, executed, operated and actively. Powerful verbs can change the whole tone of your writing. Lastly ensure that you proof read, proof read and then proof read again! You could also use a spellchecker to highlight any typos that you have missed.
11 – Years ago people always mailed their CV but mostly now it is sent digitally or uploaded to a recruitment website. When uploading your CV to either a website or as an email attachment, make sure that you have saved your document as a PDF file. This will ensure that anyone that wants to view it can open it without any hassle. The chances are if they cannot open it then they will just move on to the next one. Ensure that you always keep a copy saved for yourself and that you update it regularly with any new contact information or skills that you have acquired. This will make it a lot easier on yourself when you want to send those applications out.
Happy job hunting!