Top tips on how to write a successful CV

There are a lot of myths out there about CVs and on top on the myths, you will find heaps of misinformation. We hope to bust some myths and provide you with clear and proven-to-yield-results advice!

General tips and advice

  • Try to write your CV when you’re feeling positive – it will translate to the page and will make this a less painstaking task.
  • Write your CV in 1st person, please NEVER 3rd person!
  • Be formal. You can be creative with your wording and have your own style but this is a professional document and should be treated as such.
  • Do not set a word limit or page limit. The 2 page CV myth is just that…. A myth! You know your experience better than anyone so get as much information in there as you think suitable. It’s better to write too much and edit it down later if needs be. Maybe your CV will be one page, maybe it will be 3… as long as you have all the necessary information on there you have nothing to worry about!  
  • Make sure you put your personal/contact details on the CV – postcode, contact number and email as a minimum.
  • Stick to one font and utilise the Bold and Underline function to highlight sections or key information.
  • Tailor your CV to the job description. Don’t copy it, but take inspiration from it. Use it as a cheat sheet full of hints and tips for what to include in your CV. After all, the employer has told you what they’re looking for… so tell them what you’ve got to offer them!
  • A picture on your CV isn’t necessary, a more professional route to take would be to link to your Linkedin Page instead!

There are three main sections you must include in your CV. Profile, Work History and Education. Perhaps you also want to include some further information about your hobbies, achievements and interests. Or maybe a section solely devoted to talking about your travel experiences. There is room for creativity but you must ensure you include these three key sections.

Profile

Tell us a bit about you, this is where you sell yourself! The rest of the CV is going to be factual information about your experience. The profile section of your CV is where you have free reign to paint a picture of yourself. If you are struggling, see below for some questions to answer in order to get the creativity flowing – you’ll soon be able to integrate these answers into your profile!

  • What are your best character traits?
  • What soft skills do you have that an employer would be interested in?
  • Where did you gain these skills – whilst travelling / during University / are these innate traits?
  • Why are looking to get yourself into the working world? How do you know that you are ready?
  • Why are you looking for a job in recruitment?
  • Keep it punchy with snappy sentences

Work History and Timeline

This is where you build up a picture of the skills and experience you have gained in the working world. Here you want to make sure that you build up a cohesive and thought-out timeline of events. Whoever is reading your CV wants to see your most recent role first as this is the most relevant information.

  • Always include dates (month & year) to show the duration of time you were with the company. Specify whether it was part time / alongside another role / alongside education
  • Explain the gap. Having gaps in your CV is okay, but anything longer than 1 month must be explained. Any good employer or recruiter is always going to ask you to explain chunky gaps in your CV so you’re better off pre-empting their questioning…
  • Provide a 1 sentence overview of what the company does.
  • Clearly state your job title
  • Bullet point your day to day responsibilities. Expand on points that are particularly relevant.
  • Where/when relevant, include any achievements e.g. employee of the month award, most sales in a quarter etc.

Education

For this section you take the principles of the two previous sections and apply them. Just like with the work history section, you want to paint a picture of your experience and ensure you depict a cohesive timeline, but you must also ensure you tell a bit of a story.

  • GCSE’s – what did you take and what did you get?
  • Achievements whilst at school – DofE? Were you head Boy/Girl? Win any awards?
  • A-Levels/Btec/vocational course – what did you do and what did you achieve?
  • University – where did you go, what did you study, what did you achieve (inc percentage if you’re close to an upper grade boundary)
  • If you went to university, you may wish to include the modules you took. And include the title of your dissertation or final project.
  • Did you get involved in any societies?

If you follow these steps and answer the questions along the way you are guaranteed to have a CV that represents you accurately and includes all the information a recruiter/ prospect employer would be looking for at CV submission stage.

We are on hand to help with CV writing, so if you have any questions or would like any advice please get in touch using our instant chat function.

Click to see an example CV.

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