It’s easy to rattle off your previous roles and state what you did while you worked there, but, while it’s important to highlight your skills, you need to go one better. If you’re feeling the panic descend, don’t – we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to make writing a killer CV a piece of cake.
1. The personal profile.Make every word count. Keep it snappy and to the point – 2 lines informing the reader who you are, your key strengths and what you’re looking for is enough. There’s no need to say how well you work in a team or that you’re great at timekeeping – these qualities are expected in any workplace, so you don’t need to say it.
2. Work history. Start with your most current role, then work back in chronological order. Use bullet points to make it easy to scan through, and include as many figures as you can – what percentage you improved something by, or how much money you saved the company. Look back over what you’ve written and ask, “so what?” Is each bullet point relevant to your strengths, or your career aspirations? If not, change it or ditch it altogether. Don’t just list the job description; tell the reader what you’ve achieved and the difference it made.
3. Education Cover. everything here – the dates you attended, what school or university you went to, and your grades. But be succinct – stating that you have ’11 GCSEs grade A*-C’ is sufficient, rather than listing every subject and grade.
5. Interests. You’ll be rightly proud of the 10-mile hike you did in high school, or that novel you’re working on, but not all of your hobbies are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Be brief here – include the best, and remember to say what you achieved.
6. Multiple versions. We know it isn’t easy to decide what to include and what to leave off your CV, as every one of your skills is important. It’s a good idea to keep multiple versions of your CV with slightly different information – for instance, if you’re looking for roles in both the marketing and IT sectors, keep one document focused on your marketing achievements, and another that highlights technical tasks and skills. The key is not to overload the reader with information. If it isn’t relevant, don’t be afraid to get rid of it.
7. Marketing yourself. Now you need to look back at the document(s) you’ve created, and ask yourself the following question: does it tell the reader what value you provided to the previous companies you worked for? Again, your CV shouldn’t be a collection of job descriptions from your previous roles. Think of it as a marketing document all about you, that shows you’re capable of following the career path you want. Lastly, does reading it make you proud? If so, then it’s good to go!
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