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Tips to writing a great CV

Written by: Claire Brandon
Published on: 25 Feb 2019

Your CV is likely to be the first impression your future employer gets of you, so it’s crucial to do it right.  A lousy CV may stop you from getting an interview; It is the first key stepping stone to securing your next dream job.

Recruiters on average spend 5-7 seconds glancing at a CV. Recruiters have a trained eye, so it's essential that you tick the right boxes.  

The modern day CV is very different from that of previous years.  It's  no longer sufficient just to copy and paste your current job spec and be done.  Nowadays, you need to be a tad more creative with the way you write your CV to ensure you really stand out from your peers.

Here are six top tips for writing your best CV:

Keep the format consistent and clear

Remember to keep all your formatting consistent.  If a recruitment manager is just glancing at your CV and sees different fonts and sizes, this will be an instant red flag for lack of attention to detail.  Make sure your headings are clear and informative, i.e. Education, Employment History

List achievements rather than responsibilities

What have you achieved in your previous role?  Why would this new company want you, what can you bring?  Listing a whole load of responsibilities limits the impression you can make on a recruitment manager.  A list of day to day responsibilities can appear quite dull, but providing context of those responsibilities in relation to your achievements and career progression will encourage recruitment managers to read on. 

Sell yourself

It sounds obvious, but a lot of people fail to make it clear why an employer should hire them.  What can you bring to the team?  To the company?  Have you saved or made your current employer money, do you provide a real return on investment value?  This part should come hand in hand with your achievements if you provide context and evidence for them (e.g. you increased turnover in your department by x% during 2018). The STAR (Situation, Task, Activity, Result) approach is a solid framework to use when writing your achievements.

Link your CV to your LinkedIn profile

By including a button to your LinkedIn profile, the recruiter manager can easily gather more information on you should they wish.  It's important to make sure both your CV and LinkedIn profile complement each other, and all the dates correlate.  It may then turn out you have mutual connections, which could ultimately help you secure an interview.

Consider the length

Although it's outdated that a CV shouldn’t be longer than two pages, you should still be mindful of the length.  If your CV is exceeding three pages you should consider if everything you’ve written is essential in selling yourself, or can it be trimmed down.  Keep your most recent role as detailed as possible, but do you need so much detail in your earlier work?  If you started out doing bank reconciliations, but now you’re a qualified accountant, perhaps this isn’t important to specify. Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for.

Keep your CV up to date

Even if you are not considering a move at the moment, it's worth continuously updating your CV throughout your career.  If you’ve just completed an important project or received notable recognition, jot it down, or the chances are you will forget the detail by the time you are looking for a new role, and it will not be reflected well enough on your CV.

These few tips for writing an eye-catching CV are the first step to securing your next dream role.  This is your first chance to impress a hiring manager, so make sure it stands out.  Use a friend or colleague to proofread your CV to ensure it reads correct and has no mistakes.

Good luck in your job hunt.