There are no hard and fast rules to write a CV. Indeed, if you look on the internet, there is so much conflicting advice it can become confusing. In the coming weeks I am going to share with you my trusted tips and techniques, which have proved to be extremely effective in helping people gain employment. There are many topics I am going to cover, but before we begin properly, here are some of my tips to get CV-savvy!
Use A4, white paper. It may look good to have a coloured, sparkly background, but remember, most applications are by electronic means now. This may not send well, and the prospective employer will only print it off on white anyway, so your efforts will be wasted.
Remember to include on your CV
Key knowledge, skills and expertise
Qualifications, education and training
The first three will always remain in this order. The career history and qualifications sections can be changed to suit your individual preference.
1. Heading – this is where you’ll put your name, email address, mobile number and location. Remember to give a sensible email address, you are now a professional, after all!
2. Profile/personal statement – keep concise and to the point. This should show what you have done in the past, and what you are going to do now, along with the skills you have already acquired. It should effectively sum-up your whole CV.
3. Key knowledge, skills and expertise – use “buzzwords” to strengthen your CV against Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) which some companies use at first stage application. If you don’t include certain words, your application may be automatically rejected before a human hand has even touched it. Check the company’s job spec for such words. These will be gone into in more detail in future weeks.
4. Career history – start with your most recent employer first, remember to check dates. Then list the company, job title and your responsibilities in bullet point format.
5. Qualifications, education and training – start with your most recent qualification. If you have obtained a degree or a higher education qualification, leave out GCSEs/Standard grades etc. They will not be relevant. Remember also to include any relevant training and certifications.
Contrary to popular belief, a CV doesn’t have to be kept to two pages. This all depends on your experience. And don’t waffle to fill in blanks either. A bit of space at the bottom is perfectly acceptable.