When people know they need to write a CV, or update their old one, they tend to panic. The reality is it’s just a short document, all about you, so in theory it should be a piece of cake to write. Right?
Well, that’s the problem with theory, it doesn’t always work out that way in practice.
You might be writing about yourself, but none of us are that good at promoting ourselves. We are usually too self-conscious to really shout about our achievements, or we worry we go the other way and sound like we’re egotistical braggers.
It is a fine line, and it’s a tough one to walk at the best of time, without the added pressure of knowing your chance of being interviewed depends on you getting it right.
The other issue is that most people don’t automatically know what they need to include in a CV, or if they do, in terms of headers, they’re not sure what information really needs to be included. That’s why we’ve pulled together this quick guide to help you out. Follow it, and your CV will already be well on the way to being excellent.
Start with the basics
The most important thing about your CV is going to be your name and contact details. Make sure these are right at the top of the CV, and are shown clearly. There is no need to waste space writing “CV of John Smith” or “Curriculum Vitae”; people know what this document is, so don’t spell it out.
Do, however, make sure that your name is spelt correctly, that you use your actual name, not nicknames, and that your contact information is included.
With regards to contact information, add what you think is the best format for you. Don’t put a landline down if you never answer it, instead use your mobile number. Do make sure that you have a voicemail facility activated as well in case you miss the call. A recruiter will leave a message.
You might also want to consider adding your LinkedIn URL to your contact information. The reality is a recruiter is likely to search for you anyway, so make their job easier.
Whatever you call it (summary, profile, objectives etc), this is arguably one of the most important aspects of your CV. Yes, your career history is vital, but this short paragraph at the beginning is going to let someone make an immediate decision on your past experience, and suitability for the job.
Your entire CV should be tailored for each individual role you apply for, but this is where you can make the most tweaks. Do make sure you keep it short and sweet though, no more than a few sentences and explain:
- Who you are
- What you can offer the company
- What your career goals are (and how this role could fit in to those)
Recruiters aren’t known for their patience, mainly because they don’t have the time. Therefore, adding a key skills section, where you can bullet point and really highlight your strengths, makes life significantly easier for them.
In here you can list things such as your technical skills, or you might want to go for more soft skills such as interpersonal or negotiation.
The key here is to ensure you are listing skills that the job description/person specification is looking for, so that you can tailor your CV to the role itself. Of course, only include skills you actually have!
It is important you list your career in reverse chronological order, so the recruiter can see what you are doing now, first.
For each position state your job title, the name of the company you worked for and your dates of employment (month/year – month/year will suffice).
Then list, in bullet points, your main responsibilities and duties, along with any achievements you gained during your time.
You do not need to include a reason for leaving, or you starting/leaving salary.
Education and qualifications
Again, list this in reverse chronological order, and list the name of the institution, your dates of study, what you studied (subject and level) as well as grades achieved.
Don’t forget, Time Saving Heroes offer CV reviews to help you get on the right track with your CV, as well a full CV writing and Cover Letter service.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you make the best possible first impression, give us a call on 0161 883 2024, contact us via Facebook or Twitter, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.