Your CV is a vital tool in your job hunt - in most cases, it functions as your initial pitch for why you are right for a role. It needs to be professional and succinct, but also convey personality. To help you understand exactly how to strike that balance and market yourself in the best possible way, we have put together 5 tips for creating an excellent CV.
Keep it short and sweet
This is the most important rule of CV writing. On average, hiring managers and recruiters spend 8 seconds looking at a CV. The chances are that yours will be one of dozens they will see in a day. So your CV needs to be to the point - it should not be longer than 2 A4 pages.
Have a clear structure
The essential areas that your CV must cover are: contact details, education and work experience. Your contact details should be at the top of your CV and contain name, phone number, email, and address.
Structure your education and experience sections in reverse chronological order – your most recent experiences are the most relevant, so these need to come first.
Whether or not you put education or work experience first depends on what you think is more important to highlight for the roles you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to operations roles and have no relevant work experience but a degree in Business Management, your education should come first.
Conversely, if you are applying for a role not particularly relevant to your education, you should be looking to highlight the skills you have learnt in previous jobs – so your work experience comes first.
Include a personal statement (but make it short and professional)
While not strictly necessary, a personal statement is a good way of introducing yourself through your CV and providing an insight into your personality. Explain who you are, what you’re looking for and what you can offer.
Briefly highlight the skills you have learnt through education or work and describe what you would like to do with them. This should be a short paragraph underneath your contact details – no longer than 6 lines.
Here is an example:
“I am a recent Business Management graduate from the University of Manchester, seeking to work in the recruitment industry as an Operations Assistant. During my university education I have developed strong time management skills and a well-rounded understanding of how companies function, as well as the importance of an effective Operations function. I would like to contribute to this and progress my career at a company suited to my extroverted and proactive personality.”
Avoid waffle and highlight skills and achievements
A textbook CV error is writing a lengthy paragraph for each of your previous roles explaining your responsibilities in painstaking detail.
This is both unnecessary and damaging to your prospects of landing a role – remember, the most important information you want to convey with your CV are your skills and achievements.
To make it as easy as possible to quickly locate this information, you should bulletpoint each description of your past roles.
Briefly outline your responsibilities, then describe how your job helped develop your existing skills and/or learn new ones. Include any achievements you attained – this can be anything from being given increased responsibility in recognition of your skill, to process improvement, to boosting sales figures. If there are any statistics that can be incorporated into this, use them.
Similarly, if there are relevant skills or achievements you obtained while in education, include these in bulletpoint format in your education section.
Proof-read your CV (and then do it again)
One of the biggest red flags to a hiring manager or recruiter are errors on your CV.
Even if it is something as small as a typo, it shows carelessness and a lack of attention to detail. While most may be willing to overlook one, multiple mistakes will cast serious doubt on your suitability as a candidate.
This is why proofreading is so important. But it needs to be done in the right way – quickly scanning your CV directly after writing it means a strong chance that you miss any errors. So once you have finished writing, leave your computer and do something else for at least 5 minutes. This will allow your brain to reset, and when you come back to proofread your CV, you are approaching it with a fresh set of eyes.
Once you have completed the proofread, repeat this process. After doing this twice, it is highly unlikely any mistakes will have escaped your attention.
Camino Partners work with some of the highest-calibre brands in recruitment. To find out about the jobs we have available, or for some more general advice on your job search, get in contact today: