How to write a winning CV

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Applying for a new job can be a daunting task for some but with a little thought and preparation you can give yourself the best chance possible.

This starts with your CV!

Your CV is your passport to employment and it’s importance cannot be overstressed.

It’s simple:

You = Your CV

It is your personal sales brochure, your calling card. First impressions really do count and if you don’t make a good one then your chance of getting an interview is slim.

It needn’t be a complicated task and everyone is capable of writing a great CV.

Remember, most employers will receive 100’s of CV’s so if you really want this job you have to stand out.

Ok, so let’s start with the facts.  Did you know that most employers will automatically reject a candidate if:

    – The CV contains spelling mistakes or typos.

    – The CV is a copy and paste job from the job description.

    – The CV has an inappropriate email address.

    – The CV doesn’t include a list of skills.

    – The CV is more than two pages long.

It may sound like common sense but you would be amazed by the amount of people who make these mistakes time and time again!

What to include:

Starting from the top:

    – Your Personal Details: There is no need to title your CV, ‘CV’. This is pretty obvious. Instead, start with your name. This should be followed by your email address, contact number and postal address.

    – Personal Statement: Most employers will skim over your CV so a personal statement is a great way to summarise who you are, what you’re offering and what you’re looking for.  This should be one short succinct paragraph that makes you stand out from the crowd and proves why you are suitable for the role.

    – Work Experience: List all of your relevant work experience starting with the most recent first.  Include your job title, the company name, to and from dates and your key responsibilities.

    – Achievements: List all of your relevant skills and achievements, provide examples where possible and make it clear how you would apply these to the new role.

    – Education: List all of your relevant qualifications and achievements starting with the most recent first.  Include the type of qualification, grade (if relevant) and the dates.  How much information you include here will depend on your individual situation.  If you just finished your GCSE’s then it would be worth listing each subject.  However, if you have numerous other qualifications then just list that you have ‘x’ amount of GCSE’s.  The grades and subjects are likely to be irrelevant.

    – Interests: We’re not a big fan of this section as it’s pretty outdated however if you do include an interests section then firstly, don’t use the word ‘hobbies’ and secondly, make sure it adds value. Reading and socialising are things we all do so why waste space on your CV.  

What language to use:

Your CV needs to be short and succinct therefore the words you choose to use have to be right.  You need to accurately describe your skills and experience without waffling and always avoid overused clichés. The list is endless but here are a few of our pet peeves:

    – Excellent communication skills

    – Team Player

    – Goal driven

    – Flexible

    – Motivated

    – Multi-tasker

    – Detail oriented

    – Self-motivated

    – EnthusiasticProblem solver

How to layout your CV:

As we discussed earlier your  CV is your personal brochure and is the first thing an employer will see.

    – Choose a simple format that looks professional and is easy to read. Unless you are a graphic designer avoid overly produced CV’s with lots of graphics and colour.

    – Choose a clear and professional font, opt for black and white only and avoid complex templates.

    – Lay it out in logical order, with sufficient spacing and clear section headings (e.g. Work Experience, Education etc).

    – Your CV should be a maximum of 2 A4 pages. Be clear and concise and only include what is relevant.  

    – Double check your grammar and spelling.

    – Save your CV as a PDF and give it a professional name (e.g. CV + Your Name)

And lastly, don’t forget to tailor your CV accordingly for every job.  Before applying for a role, read the job description thoroughly and then edit your CV in line with it. Highlight that you are the right match for the job by outlining any specific skills, experience or accomplishments you have that match the requirements of the job.