CV Guide… Our 10 Steps to Writing a Successful CV.
There are some personal preferences to the format of a CV and the details and layout within the document, but remember, this is your first opportunity to impress a new potential employer, so make it easy to read and spend time reading through it to avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, these are basics we know, but you would be amazed how often we see them!
Top 10 Tips :
1. Keep it Real! :
Try keep it to two pages, not always achievable but ultimately don’t load it with irrelevant information. Prospective employers on average will spend less than 10 seconds looking at a CV, and will make there mind up if its “Yes” or “NO” within that time. Keep to the point, stick to a format that enables easy extraction of information, and don’t have your whole life story on there.
2. Tell the Truth :
Start the document with your personal details but age and gender are totally optional and not expected. The main thing to remember though is this needs to be an accurate document based on facts, not fabrications. Its an urban myth that everybody lies on their CV, make sure you make the most of what you have done, but don’t let that spill over into exaggeration or untruths. And worth noting that blatant lies can land you not only in trouble but also without a job!
3. Where to start :
As noted above start the document with your personal details but also with a statement or overview of your profile. This is a good intro and gives you an opportunity to spell out why your experience relates to the job. Don’t assume its obvious although it could of course we’ll be too! Make it short, and to the point, a couple of sentences should do it depending on the level you are and the amount of experience you have.
4. Keep it Current :
Put your most recent role first, and work back from there in reverse chronological order, putting start and end dates of each role. Bullet point your experience, spell out key achievements, put some numbers/stats in there, key commercials if possible to demonstrate what you did and what was the result. Talk through not only what you delivered, but how you did it. This is your opportunity to sell yourself and your experience, make it concise but make the most of it!
5. Don’t leave Gaps :
Gaps only raise questions, don’t let a potential employer ponder why there is a break in employment when there could be a straight forward explanation. Employers know people move jobs and there are sometimes gaps between jobs, but they also like commitment and candidates that aren’t changing roles every few months for no real reason.
6. Attention to Detail :
Make sure you read through your CV when you think it’s finished and check for mistakes. Get somebody else to also look at it. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors just shouldn’t happen and it can literally mean the difference between securing an interview or not! Check, check and then check again!
7. Make it look good!
Sounds obvious, but just think does it look professional, not overloaded with information, is there plenty of white space, is it bullet pointed, rather than heavy text based. Does the font look good, is the spacing and alignment all spot on. All easy things to overlook but again they can make the difference between a professional looking document, that people are drawn in by and want to read, versus one that is just hard to navigate and not easy on the eye!
8. Structure :
The layout can be a personal decision but there are various parts of a CV that need to be in there. Your education and qualifications, but remember these should be concise and do get less relevant as you get more experienced. Industry related qualifications are good and of course highlight anything such as language skills or specific digital marketing qualifications for example. Also remember the personal interests section is likely to be read, so make it interesting and gives some insight into you as a person, don’t fabricate anything here though, you could easily get caught out at interview if you stretch the truth. Final point on the structure, provide two work related references if possible and ideally make one from your most recently employer if you are comfortable providing.
9. Is there a two page rule!
In short no, but you should try to get it on two pages if possible if you have only had a couple of jobs and are at the start of your career. As you gain more experience its harder to get all the relevant information on two pages, which is fine but it should never really be more than four sides, whatever level or numbers of years experience you have.
10. Social Media :
Potential employers will on occasions review Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels for more information on prospective employees. Make sure what you are presenting on your CV is reflected on any social platforms!
Better Placed would be more than happy to review your CV and give constructive feedback on how it looks and any potential improvements. Feel free to send a coup to : firstname.lastname@example.org .