WRITING YOUR CV
What is a CV?
A CV (curriculum vitae) or resume is your ticket to a new job. It is a document created by you that encapsulates everything great about you that a prospective employer will want to know. For example, your skills, achievements, character, experience, interests and goals.
In other words, your CV is your shop window, so make sure you spend plenty of time planning and perfecting it.
When writing a CV, always remember that it should be a living, breathing, growing document. What we mean by that is that it should grow and evolve as you do. If you have a new skill or qualification, you change jobs or you start applying for roles that are completely different to where your current CV is angled, you need to update it.
Before writing your CV
Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your CV. They will be looking for answers to two basic questions:
- Does this person have the skills to do the job?
- Will they suit our company?
Remember that employers don’t have time to read between the lines, so the more you can demonstrate you are the right person for the job the higher the chance of success. So, before beginning to write your CV, plan out what will be important to any hirers reading it.
When planning, make sure the answer to both of the above questions is YES by:
- Building your CV to match what they’re looking for
- Be confident that your skills meet their needs
- Pointing out the value you could bring to their team/business
Writing your CV
This guide aims to show you how to write a strong and effective CV that will showcase your skills, capabilities and suitability to a potential employer.
This is your chance to make a splash. Treat it as a sales pitch — you have one chance to grab the reader’s attention with how great you are!
Keep your statement simple, snappy and focused on what you have to offer. Sum up your personal and professional attributes, taking into account the job description to which you are responding.
Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address — and if you have a website that will add value to your application, include that too. There is every chance that pages of your CV could get separated, so include your contact details on every page.
Start with your most recent position and work backwards from there. (Note: If you received a promotion at your current or most recent company treat it as a separate position).
Give each role a job title and include start and finish dates, company name and a brief description of what the company does.
List relevant responsibilities, achievements, duties and skills. Describe the scope of your job rather than giving a job description!
If you’ve had a lot of jobs or a long career, you might want to summarise this with headings as ‘Previous Employers’ or ‘Earlier Career’.
Explain any significant career gaps. Even if you’re not working, you may have picked up some incredibly valuable skills from other pursuits in your personal life.
QUALIFICATIONS, EDUCATION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
These usually come near the end of the CV, but if some qualifications are essential for the job and make you more marketable, include them after your profile.
List professional and academic qualifications, degrees and executive programmes (giving the subject, awarding body and year), but do not include ‘bought’ memberships.
Remember to include skills such as languages, IT and vocational training.
MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
- Keep copy short and sweet
- Avoid lengthy sentences and use bullet-points
- Make sentences more direct with such phrases as ‘Major achievements include’
- Use the past tense to describe your career (‘Led a team of…’) but the present tense for your transferable skills and competencies (‘Offers experience in…’).
- Keep it clean, uncluttered and orderly
- Use the same font throughout, and make sure it’s an easy to read one, such as Times New Roman or Arial.
- For a guide on font size, use 10-12 point for your body text, and a maximum of 16 point for headings
- Refrain from putting words in uppercase and always embolden headings
- Never reduce font size to fit more in. If you need another page, use one — or trim your words
- Print on one side of the paper only
- Number the pages if there are two or more
Keep your CV up to date, even when you’re no longer looking — it’ll save you considerable time when you are, and prevent you from forgetting important dates, details, projects or successes.
As recruitment specialists, we see hundreds of CVs a week and have tonnes of additional hints and tips on how to write a CV that will get you noticed, but if you still need some advice, talk to one of your local consultants who will be able to advise.
“Caroline and her team took the time to listen to and fully understand our requirements. They demonstrated their understanding by presenting us with a short list of candidates all of whom could have filled the post. Thoroughly recommended for their fantastic service, thank you.”
Select Client – Google Review – Select Appointments St Albans
Second to None
“I have worked with and for ‘Select Appointments’ since Aug 1st 2017. I have nothing but absolute praise for the care and attention I have received whilst working under their ‘umbrella’. The interaction and provision of work, remuneration and holiday entitlement is in my opinion second to none, I would certainly recommend the agency to anyone with full and utmost confidence.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Norwich
Best agency in Cambridge
“Select Cambridge is an excellent agency specialised in offering jobs in the Hospitality sector. The quantity and quality offered make it the best agency in Cambridge. Personally, I have had the opportunity to work with […] an excellent consultant, attentive to the details and needs of her employees. I highly recommend it for those who are considering joining this sector.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Hospitality Cambridge
They Invest the Time
“I have worked with the Select team on both assisting me recruit as a customer and more recently as a candidate. Having first worked with Select on a couple of recruitment projects with great success she was my first call when I needed assistance with my own career move.
For me the difference with Select is that they invest the time to understand your requirements both as a business customer and as a candidate and match you to the right people or positions. Unlike a lot of Recruitment companies the communication is strong from the Select team with regular updates and you never feel like just another candidate in a drawer. Dedication, passion, professionalism and commitment are the qualities that set them apart from the rest and I cannot rate the Select team more highly.”
Select Client & Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Lowestoft
Very Supportive Team
“I worked with the very supportive team from Select. He rang just before every appointment I had with my new employers to offer advice and support. He was also on the end of the phone when I asked for advice about my current position. Needless to say, I was offered the job I was recruited for and had a very good experience with Select.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Hospitality Peterborough
Able to Get Results
“Select have been absolutely amazing from the get go. I haven’t had any problems with finding a job, pay or communication. The team found me a new job within 1 week and another job after the contract ended on that one.
I would heavily recommend this company as not only are the staff so friendly, they are able to get the results that you want from employment. After years of working with other agencies and having many problems, Select come out on top and will be using them in the future. I found an amazing job and was so sad to leave it as I have continued my journey at university.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Chelmsford
Lovely Agency to Temp With
“Lovely agency to Temp with. Always there for advice and respond quickly to any queries I have had over the last couple of months. I would like to thank the team for the incredible service they have provided me, very professional and they really care about their work.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Oxford
Cannot Recommend Them Enough
“Select Appointments are an AMAZING agency!
My consultant believed in me and saw my strengths. He gave me back my work confidence then found me my dream job. Nothing is too much trouble. The team are with you every step of the way ensuring that you are well prepared. I cannot recommend Select highly enough.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Northampton
“Probably the very first agency that provided amazing customer experience to me. Staff are very professional and friendly to the point where they have managed to find something that suits me in the first 30 minutes of walking in for the first time. Paperwork isn’t as burdensome as in other recruitment agencies which is a big plus. I got an impression of genuine care from them due to the fact that they were always in contact with me and whenever I had an enquiry they responded asap.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Lincoln
Dedication is Abundantly Clear
“I am an IT Engineer specialising in Apple systems. Over the course of 1 year I entertained many recruiters claiming their understanding and ability in finding a position that suited my expertise.
Chris Lo is the 1st (& only) recruiter in my experience that not only dedicated & understood my goals, but also had the technical education to fully understand my abilities and provide appropriate prospects. This lead to my current position with a company & group of people I want to stay with indefinitely.
Chris’s dedication is abundantly clear; extremely communicative and driven nature, exemplifies his passion and character.”
Select Candidate – Google Review – Select Appointments Croydon