There are multiple ways how to write a CV that has the wow-factor, but unfortunately there is no magical formula that will tell you how to do it. However, by following these eight easy steps on how to write a CV, you are heading in the right direction.
1. No fibbing!
Don’t tell lies in your CV. Period.
If you pretend to have knowledge that is crucial for the role, then you get invited to interview, chances are you will be found out and it will all have been a big waste of time for you and the hirer. Best to tell the truth.
2. 8 Seconds to Shine
It is an old myth that your CV must fit on two sides of A4. This is a good rule to stop waffling, but it isn't always the right rule to use.
The average time that a hirer takes to look at your CV is somewhere between 8 and 30 seconds, unless your CV really catches their eye. This isn’t long, so you need to be succinct and to the point. The length of your CV should be appropriate to your experience and to the position you have applied for.
For example, if you recently graduated and have little work experience, 4 pages is too much. However, if you have 40 years’ industry experience and are applying for a senior role, 4 pages is probably appropriate.
3. First impressions count
You wouldn't dream of turning up to an interview in your pyjamas would you? So, why let your CV go out wearing slippers and a dressing gown? Make sure your CV looks nice and neat. Don’t make the typeface too small to cram more in and make sure you have clearly defined headers.
4. List achievements, not duties
Duties are dull lists of everything you do, but achievements show what impact you have had on previous employer businesses. For example, a duty could be “I make coffee for the office”; on the flip-side the achievement linked to this would be “I increased productivity in the office by 200% by keeping everyone hydrated.” The achievement sounds a lot better, right?
You should be proud of your achievements and make sure that the person reading your CV knows just how great it would be if you joined their team.
5. Keywords, keywords, keywords
Not only will recruiters thank you for this, but you will thank yourself when your CV is appearing in a recruiter’s search for candidates to put forward for what could be your dream role. If you have applied for a role through a recruitment company your CV is now searchable by that office or if you have uploaded your CV to a UK-wide job site, your CV is now searchable to recruiters across the country.
Recruiters will search for candidates using keywords specific to a particular role and you will want to make sure that you pack as many keywords in your CV as possible. If you can use industry specific software or have specific skills make sure they are on there.
Prospective employers will look for how much effort you have put into your CV, because this will likely reflect how much you put in at work. So, try to eliminate as many mistakes as you can. Use the spellcheck and get a friend to read it for you to make sure it makes sense.
7. Contact Details
Excellent, your CV looks amazing, you sound like the perfect addition to an employer’s team and it’s the perfect role for you, so the recruiter picks up the phone… AND there are no contact details on your CV. *DreamsDashed*
Check, double check, even triple check that your contact details are on there and are correct.
Also, as most jobs require you to be in the office for part - if not all - of the week, please remember to put your location on your CV! This doesn't have to be your whole address, it can simply be the City/Town and County you live in.
8. Tinker, Tailor
Tailor your CV to the types of position you are applying for. If you are multi-disciplined and are applying to a variety of different roles that require different skills, make sure you create CV’s to cover all disciplines.
Also, remember to keep updating it with relevant experience. Don’t apply with a CV that is three years old, you will definitely have gained new experiences over that time, so remember to include them.
BONUS TIP: Word
In order for recruiters to easily search for your CV, your CV has to be in a searchable format. PDF documents restrict the ability of search engines to scan the content of a CV. Word documents however, are easily scanned by search functions in recruiting software and online platforms, which means that they are much easier to find.
Armed with these eight+ tips on how to write a CV, you are ready to start creating yours and don’t forget to ask your recruitment consultant for their opinion! Get in touch with your local consultants or follow this link to get more advice.