How to Write a CV. Writing a good CV can mean the difference between the waste paper bin and a job interview. A good quality CV can make all the difference.
Writing a good CV can make all the difference between a successful job application and a rejection letter.
Follow this simple guide and enlist the help of a recruitment agency to make sure your CV lands in the interview pile.
Your CV should be no longer than two sides of A4; this should be plenty of space for you to write concisely and directly about your skills and experience. Using direct and focused language to explain what you have accomplished such as ‘organised’, ‘achieved’ or ‘developed’ gives a more positive impression than weaker passive words in your CV or jargon words, particularly if your potential employer may not understand them.
Employers will expect you to type your CV and it should be in Arial font size twelve. Presentation is the first thing that employers will see and make a judgement on so take particular care to ensure that your spelling, grammar and punctuation are all correct and the CV is on clean paper that is nor crumpled. First impressions count so make sure yours is the right one.
Everyone’s CV is individual and there is no perfect template as different industries will require a different emphasis on content and skills. However there are several important sections that your employer will expect to see.
Your CV should begin with your personal details including address, email and phone numbers to contact you by. You do not need to include your date of birth under the age discrimination laws and you should not include a photograph of yourself unless requested.
You can include social media such as linked in on your CV if it is linked to your work, for instance, a business page, however employers will not want to see your personal Facebook page.
In your CV, you should list your career history with the most recent listed first. This should include dates of employment and in addition, any relevant voluntary work. Any notable achievements from these jobs can also be included in your career history as employers will be interested in these.
If you have any gaps in your employment history, for instance studying or having a family, or you have had a change in career, it is a good idea to briefly explain your reasons behind this.
Again you should list your training and qualifications with your most recent qualifications first, with dates, places of education and qualifications gained.
You should also include your key skills from both paid and voluntary work, especially those that are relevant to the job description. Key skills can set you apart from the crowd, so if you are fluent in a foreign language, can use computer programs proficiently, or have a full clean driving licence, make sure you mention it here.
If you have any previous experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for, whether it is paid or voluntary work, it should be included here. This will show your potential employer than you have had experience and skills that would help you in the job.
Do not worry if you have not had any experience directly in the sector you are applying for, as employers will be interested in you if you can relate your skill set to the job description, for instance, you may not previously have worked as a nursery nurse, however you have experience of caring for children through working as a childminder. When you are describing previous employment, it is a good idea to do it in terms what experience and skills you have gained from it as this is what potential employers will want to know. A recruitment agency can advise you on how to present your skills gained from previous experience successfully to potential employers.
Hobbies and interests are often a forgotten section at the end of a CV however, used shrewdly, these can further highlight your skills. For instance, you may be a member of a triathlon club demonstrating your tenacity, or you can evaluate your excellent team work skills that you developed as part of a rowing team. These would be very positive interests to include in a CV.
Not all interests should be included in a successful CV; try to avoid interests that portray you as passive or solitary, for instance, watching television or collecting stamps, as your employer may view you as lacking leadership or people skills.
Most employers will expect you to provide two referees whom they can request references from. One should be your last or current employer, try to ensure that at least one of the referees is in an industry sector relevant to the job you have applied for, for instance a teaching reference for a teaching job. A recruitment agency can advise you on who is best to use as a reference based on your employment and training history.
If you have not worked before, a teacher or tutor reference will suffice, particularly if this was from a training course or education that will support your application for a job in that sector, for instance, a reference from your nurse training course for a job as a nurse.
A recruitment agency can be invaluable in your job search. As well as giving advice on how to write a successful CV, many agencies will also offer free CV templates and can show you examples of what a good CV should look like. Agencies can also offer specific recruitment advice for your industry, for instance, construction or education, and this may give you the edge over your competitors.
Recruitment agencies are the job finding experts who can help from the initial job search, to filling in the application pack, writing covering letters and perfecting your CV, to finally honing your techniques when you reach the interview stage. By taking advantage of their help and support, it could make the difference between a successful journey to employment or endless rejection letters.
It is important to tailor your CV to the job requirements; this means you will need to adapt your CV to each job you apply for rather than use a generic CV. It is more time consuming but will reap rewards in giving you the best possible chance of a successful application.
In order to tailor your CV, you must have an understanding of the job requirements. Read through the personal specification or job description carefully and highlight where you meet the requirements with your own skills and experience. Next work out where you have gaps in the requirements and think carefully whether you can adapt any previous experience, either employed or voluntary, to show you have those skills. For instance, you may not have experience of leading a team however you have successfully run your son’s soccer league. By including these examples you will not only be meeting the requirements, but showing you have a transferable skill set.
Using this guide, make sure you match each requirement of the personal specification as this is what employers will use when choosing whom to interview.
If you are unsure whether any of your skills are relevant to the job specification, ask a consultant at your recruitment agency for help. They will be experienced in writing good CV’s and matching you skill set to the specifications required.
By following these helpful tips and enlisting the expert help of a recruitment agency, you will make the most of your skills and experience and present it successfully to potential employers; this is the first step to your perfect job.