How to Write the Perfect CV
Found a job that you’d love to apply for, but not sure what to do when it comes to writing your CV?
We’ve got you covered – read on to find out more about the information a potential employer will be looking for and some tips and tricks to make your CV stand out from the pile.
What is a CV?
First, let’s get to the basics, what is a CV and why is it important to do a good job with yours?
CV stands for Curriculum vitae, it’s a document that presents all the important information about you to a prospective employer. Put short it’s like your own personal marketing leaflet.
While your CV doesn’t have to follow a particular format, recruiters will be looking for specific information, so you’ll need to make sure you include everything required and it’s clear and easy to read.
That’s why we suggest laying out your CV in a fairly standard way. You don’t need anything fancy on your computer - simple word processing software will be just fine.
What should you include on your CV?
We recommend splitting your CV into the following distinct sections, with clear headers so your reader can find the bits they’re interested in quickly. You should include:
Include your name, address, phone numbers and email address clearly at the top of the page. Don’t disclose any details about your age, ethnicity or marital status.
This is your opportunity to make yourself stand out. Read the job description carefully, think about what the employer is looking for and try to relate it to your skills and experience.
Don’t be afraid to address the points directly by mirroring the language used in the job description. Ultimately the employer is trying to find out if you have what they need. The quicker they can decide, the quicker they’ll stick your CV on the ‘yes’ pile.
Tip: People often say this is the hardest bit to write. Why not complete the rest of the information and then come back to your profile at the end?
Reiterate key skills in a bullet point list. Make sure to check the job description once again so you don’t forget anything.
List out your work experience with most recent (and ideally most relevant) first. Include job title, organisation and the dates you were employed as well as a brief paragraph about your responsibilities.
Education and training
List schools / institutions and dates attended as well as any qualifications and skills certificates you were awarded.
Interests / hobbies
Try to include those that are relevant to the role or at least show transferable skills. Playing in a sports team will help to show you as a team player – better still acting as captain could prove you’re not afraid to take responsibility. Similarly, a volunteering position speaks volumes about your community spirit.
We would usually advise writing ‘References available on request’ at this stage. Although it’s a good idea to have in your head the names of some relevant business referees you can call on if necessary.
Writing your CV: Our top tips
· KISS your CV
KISS stands for ‘keep it simple and straightforward’. Recruiters and employers receive lots of CVs. They want to be able to find out, at a glance, whether you’re right for a role. Set out your CV clearly in the format above, use a clear, easy-to-read font and don’t use three words where one will do. Where possible try to keep the document to two pages of A4.
· Be honest but don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet
If you’re not confident about your skills and abilities, then why should an employer take a chance with you? When filling in your profile and work experience try to offer examples of how you exceeded your targets and went above and beyond what was expected of you. Employers like specifics – if you can show you came up with an idea that increased productivity.
· Tailor your CV to the specific job you’re after
Make sure you update your CV every time you use it – you may find you’ve gained skills and experience since you last applied for a job. And as noted in the profile section above, try to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. This will score you points by showing you’re interested in this role rather than taking a scattergun approach by sending your CV out to anyone offering a job.
· Check EVERYTHING before you press send
Check, double check and triple check before you send off the final document. Better still ask a friend or colleague to read it through. Errors in spelling or grammar could count against you if it’s a close call between you and another candidate. Also check your contact details – it’s so easy to get a digit wrong in your phone number, and we’d hate for you to miss out on that perfect opportunity simply because a recruiter is leaving messages on the wrong answer phone.
#Bonus tip: Make sure your email address is sensible: Think about what email address you use when applying for jobs. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org would not look very professional unless you were applying to be a superhero. Its always a good idea to create a new one just for job searching- remember to check it regularly.
An unprofessional email address can negatively impact a potential employer’s first impression of you. Create a new email address specifically for job searching if necessary.
Need more help?
If you would like some personal guidance, there are services that can help with CV writing such as job clubs – contact Chepstow Library ,. Learn Direct offer free employability skills courses and your local college may also run a course that could help. If in doubt visit your local Job Centre for more information.
Download our free template
Why not download this free CV template to get you started?
If you’re job hunting at the moment in Chepstow, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South Wales areas, why not check out our latest vacancies or give us a call on 01291 628888 to find out more about how we can help?