CV Writing Tips: Your CV is your shop window, usually the first insight a prospective employer or recruiter will have of you so it’s in your best interests to get it right. We asked some of the top people in the industry what they look for in a CV and you may be surprised to see they’ve quashed many of the old Do’s and Don’ts in this article about the top CV Writing Tips.
According to the industry’s finest, a skilled recruiter spends just 30 seconds skim-reading the CV you probably slaved hours over, so it needs to grab their attention straight away. They will spend a proportion of this time on your basic information, making sure your location fits the brief. That your experience is what is required for the role and that your latest job, education and hobbies & interests are all in keeping with the type of individual they’re after. All of this literally takes less than a minute, usually followed by a quick cross-referencing with your LinkedIn profile, and that’s it, the decision whether to call you or not has been made, your CV is the ticket to that next stage.
Your personal statement needs to be punchy and to the point, no one actually cares that you’re a ‘team player’ blah blah blah. Don’t be tempted to do a one-size-fits-all CV that you can spam out to any job that seems to meet your criteria. Tailoring your personal statement to the position or at least the industry you’re looking to work in will help them picture you in the role from the off.
The long and short of it.
The length of your CV has been argued about for decades but gone are the days of the two-page rule. It’s a myth that a recruiter or employer will instantly dismiss your CV should it stray over two pages but do keep in mind that you shouldn’t waffle on just to pad it out. Stick to facts and keep it interesting and you’ve got it.
This is a pet hate it seems. Please refrain from childish fonts, borders or anything you may feel pretties-up your CV, just don’t! Do however go for something a tad sexier than Times New Roman. Calibri and Helvetica are amongst the favourites!
Don’t list references, most recruiters will admit this is great for future lead generation and as the saying goes ‘loose lips sink ships’ so a simple ‘references available upon request’ is all that’s needed here. Now you can be sure you’re in complete control and no one is going to call your current boss mid Monday morning catch-up… Awkward.
You, me and my CV.
As you know there are people out there that will charge you a small fortune to compose your CV for you and these people seem to stick to the same old-school mentality of writing your CV in the third person. Don’t do it! Hopefully you’ll have the confidence and the knowledge after reading this to write your own CV but it’s a very dated style (and quite frankly annoying) so save your pennies for that celebratory drink when you land the job and just write your own… as you.
Save the Date
While many people will admit to the odd white-lie on their CV, please do make sure your LinkedIn profile matches or at least doesn’t present you with any awkward questions come interview time. Most people slip up on dates, trying to cover gaps between jobs or start dates for senior positions. Go over both and make sure everything tells the same story, ideally the truth!
To the point
Bullet points are your friend, use them to keep your CV factual, easy to read and punchy. Remember it’s achievements before responsibilities, we want to know what you’re actually bringing to the table not how many keys to the office you have.
I hope our top CV writing tips and advice have helped you hone your CV to land that dream job. Just remember, your CV really is the first impression so sell yourself. We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things CV, did we miss anything? What are your pet hates as a hiring manager? What are the worst CV faux pas you’ve seen?