A CV is an opportunity for you to highlight your skills and experience to a potentialemployer and secure an interview.  A CV should capture your strengths and present them in a structured format that outlines responsibilities, skills, qualifications and achievements.

The essential tip to writing a good CV is to tailor your resume to the role that you are applying to. Study the job advert and job description and with a pen highlight the key responsibilities, attributes, essential and desirable skills.  If you have these skills or attributes and have not highlighted them in your CV make sure you do!

Why do this?  Consider that the recipient of the CV’s receives bulk responses with very limited time to review them.  This means they will scan the CV’s for key words from the job description so you must ensure that your CV jumps out at them.

  1. A CV should ideally be no more than two A4 sides.  If you need to use more keep it to three pages as a maximum and ensure that your relevance to the position is clearly outlined on the first page.  You must keep the recipient interested and engaged
  2. Personal details – include name, address and contact details.  Make sure that your email address is professional ‘fionafluffybunnies@…co.uk’ won’t make the right impression.  Do not put your date of birth or marital status on your CV.  Do not allude to your political or religious preference.  This type of information is unnecessary and has no relevance on how well you can perform the job.  Put your address and contact details at the end of your CV.
  3. Personal profile– this is your opening statement and should highlight your attributes and summarise your skills.  As part of a tailored CV this opening statement if written properly can be very effective.  Your objective is to engage the person assessing your CV immediately and keep them reading.
  4. Key achievements – make sure that your key achievement section is credible and relevant to the job that you are applying to.  Think about how you have added value to your employer, state this on your CV and back it up with figures and statistics, generics statements are boring and will not engage the recipient.
  5. Outline of roles – include job title, name of employer, dates of post.  If you do not associate dates with each role it may work against you.  Honesty is the best policy with CV’s.  Do not try and hide career breaks or periods of unemployment, instead outline what you did or what you learned from these periods.  Travel is often deemed as a life skill. Unemployment breaks in this economic climate are inevitable but it would be expected that a motivated candidate would highlight personal projects, academic courses and temporary work that has been carried out whilst job hunting.For each job role provide a brief outline of key responsibilities.  Make sure you include tangible information.  Outline the structure of the department you work within and your job purpose.  Include budget responsibility, sales target / achievement and any cost savings made.  Provide factual figures and statistic wherever possible.

In most circumstances is it advantageous and common practice to put your job roles in reverse chronological order.  By listing your job history with the most recent job first enables you to highlight career growth and makes your CV easy to read.

  1. Education – list of all your qualification, including certifications with the names of institutions and dates attended, addresses are not required.  If a qualification is related to the job vacancy considers highlighting this qualification in your personal profile.
  2. Activities & interests – it is personal preference to include this section, it is not a necessity.  However, it can demonstrate an indication to your personality and personal drive.  If you have genuine hobbies you may wish to include these.  Also, consider doing this is you are applying to a job that outlines desirable attributes that can be further demonstrated through your personal activities / interests.
  3. Be prepared to discuss your CV in detail!