Your CV should be a summary of your academic and professional history and achievements. It should highlight your education, qualifications and previous employment while selling yourself to a potential employment. Emphasise core skills, detail your key strengths, showcase your experience, and make sure you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of getting that job interview. After all, there’s a big difference between an average CV and a great CV, so here are four key ways to write a great CV.
This is an extremely important part of your CV. It should have a clear, easy-to-follow structure that the employer won’t have to decipher or re-read to make sense of it. Generally, you should structure your CV in the following order: Name and contact details; Personal profile; Key skills and achievements; Employment history; Education and qualifications. We’ve written more detail about each section below:
This is the very first part of your CV. It should be positioned at the top of the page where it’s clear and easy for the employer to find. Don’t title your CV with ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ as it’s a waste of space. Instead, use your full name as the title and write your contact details underneath it. Your contact details should include your hometown, phone number and email address. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile (but make sure it’s up to date!).
This is also known as a ‘personal statement’ or ‘professional profile’. It’s a short paragraph that sits underneath your contact details, and it should give an overview of who you are, your key strengths, your career goals and experience. Keep it short and sweet.
This section should outline your previous jobs, internships and work experience. You want to put the most recent information first and then work backwards (reverse chronological order). Each position of employment should state your job title, the employer, the dates of employment (month and year), and a line that summarises your job role. Underneath this line, bullet point key responsibilities, skills and achievements gained within the role. Keep it short and concise. If you have years and years of experience, you can reduce the detail of old or irrelevant roles. If you have positions from more than 10 years ago, remove them.
(Please ensure all past jobs are written in the past tense.)
This should have a similar structure to your employment history section. It should have your most recent education first, so list everything in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions, dates you were there, and any qualifications and grades you achieved.
It’s important that your CV is consistent in every possible way. It should be consistent with your LinkedIn profile, have consistent fonts and word sizing, and
have a generally consistent layout. Make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to trust what you’re saying and be able to read everything with ease. For example, if you write in the third person, make sure you do so throughout the whole document. If you’ve already got a CV and you simply need to update it, make sure all updates are consistent.
The look and consistency of your CV is really important as it can either draw the potential employer in or annoy them if it’s hard to follow. Make sure it’s as clear as possible with good use of headings.
3. Give examples
Instead of making generic statements about your past roles, such as ‘achieved good sales with lots of customers’, give examples of what you did and why it worked. Statistics and facts are a really effective way of ‘wowing’ the potential employer. You could say ‘achieved [x number] of sales within a five-month period, dealing with [x number] of customer accounts’, which is then more specific and an interesting example that highlights your strengths.
4. Proofread and feedback
Once you’re satisfied that your CV is selling you and your skills effectively, proofread it. Look for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and inconsistencies. Then ask someone else to read through it. Ask them for some honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t. This is a great way of polishing your CV and making it the best it can be.
Once you’ve completed these four key steps, it’ll be time to send off your CV to your chosen job vacancy! If you’re unsure what your next steps are, you’ve just started looking for work, or you can’t find the right job, contact us at Ascendant Recruitment. We have lots of temporary, permanent, part-time and full-time roles, and we’ll be able to find one to suit you!