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Top 10 CV writing tips

Top 10 CV writing tips

Published On 26/04/2017

Your CV (abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae) is the most important document that you will have when searching for a job.  It is your personal brochure and, some may say, even could been seen as defining your personal brand.

Never ever underestimate the importance of getting your CV right.  If it hasn't taken you a long time to get it ready - go back and look again!  It could almost certainly be better!  You may be the loveliest and most well suited person for the role but if you can't get past the CV reader you'll never get an interview.

There are a million and one resources available on the Internet and in books for CV writing but here are the Key Recruitment Top 10, selected after many coffee time conversations as the most important and are faults that we see every day.

At the end of this post, after the tips, you'll find a simple downlaodable CV template to get you started

1. Check, Check, Check

Employers do look for mistakes.  Your CV is your first impression and in cases of high volumes of applicants that attention to detail can make all the difference.  Ensure your CV is spell-checked, formatted and consistent. Get a friend or colleague (or two or three!) to check over your CV before sending it, this is a great way of helping you to check for yourself too.

2. Keep it Current

Whether you are searching for a job or not, if anything significant happens in your career make sure to update your CV.  This ensures that when you need it all the important stuff will be there.  Closed a lucrative deal? Improved productivity in  a short time?  Implemented a major project with measurable success?  Write it down while it's fresh in your mind.

3. Size Matters

Do not make your CV too short - or too long.  The current "best practice" is considered to be 2 pages of A4 (single sided) though 1 page CVs are quite popular too. Keep it punchy and to the point but ensure you highlight those key details that employers look out for.

4. Tell the Truth

Please don't lie.  It may be tempting to add a zero or exaggerate your success but if you do get caught out (any many do) it will not only be embarrassing but you will probably not get the job.  By all means sell yourself but do not write something that will trip you up later.

5. Tailor It

Are you applying for different roles? Are you looking to change career?  Make sure your CV reflects the skills necessary for each specific job you are going for.  If the job spec asks for certain skills, qualifications or personal attributes make sure your CV covers all those points.  Tailoring your CV can make all the difference.

6. Need for Numbers

Highlight your acheivments with numbers. Just saying you increased figures can look dull but if you add the figures it will look a lot more compelling. For example,

"I sold more than all the other salespeople" doesn't sound as interesting as " I was awarded salesperson of the month for 6 months consecutively with my sales responsible for 30% of company turnover"

However - make sure of your facts.  Exaggeration is often considered to be lying.

7. Keyword Friendly

Ensure your CV includes keywords as these are what stand out and will be picked up.  A lot of recruiters use software that automatically scans for keywords and selects CVs for further reading by a human.  Make sure that your CV includes all the key words for the role that you are applying for.  You do not want to be missed.

8. Looking Good

Image is everything.  Take time to learn how to format your CV. Don't use loads of different fonts and colours. Write in paragraphs, use punctuation, use bullet points, use a simple font that is easily readable.  Try to leave enough white space around your paragraphs so that your CV doesn't look crowded.

9. Mind the Gap

Do not leave gaps in your employment history.  Employers can be suspicious about gaps and like to see a flow to the work history. If you have had time out of employment be honest about it but try to put a positive spin on it as well.  Don't be shy to include time spent doing voluntary work or improving your skills.

10. It's all about you

Always include a personal statement that highlights what it is that makes you the most suitable candidate for the role.  A paragraph or two at the top of your CV that highlights you, your skills and your passion for the role. Sell yourself.  That's what your CV is - your sales brochure for yourself.

So that's our Top 10 CV tips.  Click the button below to download our basic CV template to get you started.

Once you've done that please do head over to our Jobseekers page to register with us, don't forget to upload your CV!

Download our CV Template

We'll look forward to talking to you soon and then finding you a job!