Hints & tips for CV writing!

In my role I am asked on a daily basis to give advice on CV’s. Something I love to help with. A poor CV can make a superb candidate look unemployable and vice versa. Your CV should not be the reason you miss out on your dream job.

Of course, everyone has their own opinion on how a CV should look and the options are endless!

·        How many pages it should be?

·        How far you should go back?

·        Summary or no summary?

·        Hobbies or no hobbies?

·        Picture or no picture?

·        2 or 32 pages?

It can be a minefield and even after sixteen years in recruitment (!) I can say there is no simple answer. There are a few things however, that are super important.

·        Don’t waffle. You want the reader to pick up your CV, skim-read the first page (because believe me this is all most will do) and think to themselves ‘Yes – I want to meet this person’. People are offered roles by meeting people face to face – you rarely are offered a role purely off the back of your CV.

·        Don’t assume people will understand internal/industry jargon. Remember CV’s are also reviewed by HR and recruitment professionals who will not use this lingo on a day-to-day basis. Don’t get rejected because your CV doesn’t seem relevant.

·        Never assume. It may be obvious to you that you are responsible for ‘x’ and ‘y’ in your role – but it may not be obvious to the reader and this could be the reason you are accepted or rejected.

·        Don’t try to be too ‘cool and quirky’ but making your CV 15 different colours, written in 24 different fonts, have 12 separate information boxes and include 62 hyperlinks. The minute you confuse the reader and make it hard work, you’re likely to lose their interest, and the chance to showcase your skills in person!

·        Never ever lie on a CV. Never fabricate the truth just to get an interview because you will be quickly found out. Make sure your dates are correct so you don’t need to worry about explaining discrepancies post-offer.

·        Aim to have 2 – 3 versions depending on the roles you’d like to target. You will find it useful to have a couple of versions of your CV that will highlight different parts of your experience for different roles. I tend to say that you should hold your CV next to the job you are applying for and highlight any points that ‘match’ before you send your CV.

·        Remember contact details! Sounds like a no-brainer. You would not believe the amount of CV’s we receive with no email or mobile number included.

·        Bring it to life! Put your personality into it. Remember to add hobbies and interests. They can be a brilliant conversation starter to help alleviate nerves in interview. They can also show how you can apply yourself to a challenge – marathon running, passing scuba diving qualifications etc. However, again don’t try and be too interesting and come across… well…. Just weird.

As I mentioned before, everyone has their own opinion and this is mine (You might hear different suggestions, but I hope this advice is helpful!). If you need any help writing your CV, please do not hesitate to call me or email me 020 3008 6830 / katewatson@betterplaced.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!