As recruiters we see thousands of CVs a day and we have got to know which ones stand out and which ones get employers interest. Writing this can be the most rewarding action that you can take towards obtaining a new job! The amount of care that you put into your CV will open new doors and increase your chances of getting an interview. Your CV is the first impression that a potential employer gets to see of you so make sure the best parts of you shine through! On average, an employer spends just 6.25 seconds looking at each CV, therefore you need to make that time count!
Here are a few of our tips to writing the best CV.
Concentrate on the essentials
A CV should be brief, and in most cases a maximum of two pages are sufficient enough. In any event, never exceed three pages. If you have limited work experience, describe your education and training first and remember to highlight work placements during training.
Be clear and concise
Try to use short sentences so you do not lose interest and concentrate on the relevant aspects of your training and work experience to the industry or specific job that you are applying for. If you have any breaks in your experience or studies, make sure you explain these.
Adapt your CV to suit each job
Before you send you CV to an employer, check that it corresponds to the job profile provided to present yourself as the best candidate. Try not to include any work experience or training which is not relevant to the application. Make sure you highlight your advantages according to the specific needs of the prospective employer. However, it is important that you do not artificially inflate your CV. If you do you are likely to be found out during interviews if the employer was to question you on said information.
Take care over the presentation of your CV
Ensure to set out your kills and competencies clearly and logically, so that the advantages of hiring you stand out. Always pay attention to details such as spelling and punctuation as lack of attention to features such as this can really put off employers. If you are giving an employer a printed version of your CV, ensure to print it on plain white A4 paper, and use Arial font at size 10 or 11 pt.
Check your CV once you have filled it in
Once you have completed you CV make sure to proof read it for any spelling mistakes and ensure it has been laid out clearly and logically. It is always a good idea to ask someone else to give it a read over to make sure the content is clear and easy to understand.
Here is a suggested template that we suggest you follow when creating your CV.
This is the best opportunity to sell yourself, but make sure to keep it brief. Sum up who you are and the most relevant skills which make you right for the role in under 200 words. You will have plenty of opportunities to detail your achievements in the main body of the CV. Don’t forget to spell-check carefully and perhaps get a friend to proof read.
In this section you should give a detailed chronological account of the work you have carried out during your career to date, detailing all of your responsibilities and backing this up with practical experience. It is crucial that you demonstrate your knowledge and we recommend that you highlight at least three key achievements for each of your previous posts and if you can back up your record with facts and figures. Although CVs should only be two pages, if you need to take the third in order to truly document your responsibilities then take it. Start with your most recent relevant job role and go back from there.
Company name, Job title, location, Date from-to.
• Describe a particular project that you have worked on and show clearly how you have contributed to its success
• Demonstrate how you developed a programme or project from inception to execution
• Set our how well you worked with others to ensure the project was finished on time and on budget, highlighting your responsibilities
• Implemented [change] which resulted in [benefit]
• Add as many as you can to show off your skills
• Received an [award] for [reason]
It is especially important when you’re just starting out in your career to emphasis your educational achievements and highlight your academic strengths early in your CV. Be clear with your grading, and emphasis any specific topics studied.
• Degree: [subject]- [grade]
[ Start date- end date]
• A- Levels: [college/ sixth form name]
[start date- end date]
o [Subject]- [grade]
o [Subject]- [grade]
o [Subject]- [grade]
[Number] GCSEs, grade [Range, i.e. A-C] including Maths and English
Be careful if you decide to include details of your hobbies. It is a chance to show of your character and personality, but it is still important to bear in mind how your interests might be relevant to the role you are trying to win. If your interests don’t relate and add to your attractiveness as an applicant, it may be better to leave out this section.
E.g. I run a weekly [hobby] club and also act as treasurer, controlling subscriptions and banking. Therefore, I undertook a [course] in order to improve my [skill].
References available on request.
Rayner Personnel is always happy to help our candidates with their CV. Once you have followed our advice in this blog, feel free to give us a call on 0330 088 6666 to get in contact with one of our recruiters in your area who would be happy to help you progress and improve your CV further to better your chances of making that first impression the best you can!