When it comes to writing your CV, there’s plenty to think about before you dive in. It is, after all, an integral part of any job search, and the cornerstone of your application that employers will build their first impression upon. Getting it right first time is extremely important, giving you the best chance possible to land your next position.
However, simply listing your skills and experience in a haphazard way is rarely a recipe for success. CVs take time and effort, and plenty of editing before you finally send them off as part of your application. So, to get you started on the right path, we’ve compiled a list of 7 things you should keep in mind when writing your CV. Read on to learn more and start preparing for your next interview!
Read Examples for Your Industry
A good place to start before you begin compiling your CV is with exiting examples relevant to your industry. A quick Google search should give you plenty of inspiration and by checking over a few good examples you’ll instantly have a better idea of what employers will expect from you. However, don’t be tempted to simply copy/paste the wording of existing CVs, as this may come across as too generic.
CVs should always be succinct and to the point. No hiring manager or recruitment company will take the time to pour over your ten-page essay, so you should try to condense all the most important information into a single page. This means paying careful attention to the type of language used and the formatting. Spend some time redacting long or complex sentences and ensure you do not use any unnecessary words.
Don’t Be Too Personal
A CV is a window into your professional life—not a chance for you to express your deep-seated love of art, music, sports, or anything else. Of course, if you have space, you can indicate some of your interests, however, this should only be done if it relates to the industry, company, or position. Remember, you want to give as much room as possible to state and then reinforce your suitability for the job, and not necessarily provide insight into your personal life.
Use Bullet Points
CVs love bullet points. They help you highlight your most important skills and qualifications for employers to see at-a-glance. This means that all the most important information you want to impart will be easily accessible and memorable. Highlight your most valuable skills with bullets and ensure that relevant experience also stands out on the page.
Use Keywords from the Job Advert
One of the best tips when compiling a CV for a specific position is to pay attention to keywords used within the job advert itself. These will indicate the skills, experience, and traits that the employer is looking for, allowing you to tailor your CV to each position and give yourself the best chance of being noticed. It is, however, important not to go over the top, as loading your CV with unnatural language will ensure it stands out in the wrong way.
Use Active Language
Active language is any job seekers secret weapon. Active language is dynamic and intriguing, framing your skills, experience, and qualifications in a way that is to the point and comprehensible to employers. Words such as “earned”, “achieved”, “led”, “planned”, “produced”, and “developed” are great places to start. However, most verbs, when used the right way, can give your CV a greater sense of energy.
This should really go without saying but it’s amazing how often CVs are delivered full of typos and formatting errors. They key is to proofread your CV at least twice, and if you have time, space those proofs over the course of a couple of days so you can look at the text with fresh eyes. Additionally, make sure you check your formatting when exporting your CV to other file types, such as PDF, to ensure everything is where it should be.