Writing your CV
A well prepared CV is key when looking for a new role. It will significantly increase the chances of being spotted by a recruiter or an employer, and will improve your chances of getting an interview.
Our advice is to put together a ‘base’ CV. This is what you will use when searching for a new job. You will also use it as the ‘base’ for CVs that are tailored specifically for certain opportunities.
To put together a strong CV you should consider the following:
Keep it brief
Employers don't have time to sift through pages of information so try and keep it to two pages. In some circumstances it may be appropriate to include more depending on the skills and qualifications required.
Ensure the layout of your CV makes it easy to browse. Many people will browse CVs rather than reading them word for word. Also visual appearance makes a big impact, a messy and hard to read CV is likely to end up in the bin. Keep it simple, ensure section titles are bold and that achievements etc. are bulleted
Avoid using tables and text boxes to layout your CV, particularly when using recruitment agencies or submitting a CV online. This is because systems that are often used to process CVs and convert them into one format can't recognise tables and boxes so any information written in them may get lost.
Use verbs not adjectives
A lot of people fall into the trap of using adjectives to describe themselves but saying "I am creative" or "I am a conscientious worker" doesn't prove anything. Use verbs instead to illustrate examples of your skills; "I created a portfolio of our work to impress prospective clients" or "I built a website working to an extremely tight deadline" sounds much more impressive.
List your career history in order of the most recent position first and include key responsibilities and achievements for each role. As the roles go further back in time, include less achievements and responsibilities.
Employers want to know significant things you have achieved, if you can highlight that in numbers it will stand out to the employer.
Remember to include any qualifications you have, as well as other relevant skills and awards.
Employers want to know a bit about your personality but interests can often take up valuable CV space. If you haven't got room don't bother. If you do include them, keep it brief and try to make it relevant to the job in question.
Check and double check for errors. Get a friend to read through it if you can as they are more likely to spot errors you miss.
Handy tip: try reading line by line starting from the bottom of the page to the top, this breaks up the flow of reading and makes you less likely to skim over mistakes.
Need more help? Take a look at our 'Example CV'