CV Writing Tips

In the first stage of your new job search, you're only as good as you appear on paper. So, if your CV isn't exactly selling you to the standards you were hoping for, it's going to need a little work.

You don't have to be a design guru or a creative wordsmith to write a great CV. The focus is on what you choose to include.

The following pointers will help you to get the very best out of that one piece of paper that will ultimately pave the way to your shiny new career.

Style and layout

Your CV should be clear, concise and easy to read on screen as well as in print. So, don't get carried away with fancy fonts or colours, they're just distracting. Plus, unless you're applying for a design role, no-one is assessing your use of well-coordinated Pantones!

Information to include

Personal details: Name, address, email and telephone number are enough. Keep this information at the top so it's easy to get in touch with you. Less is more... no need to mention your age, marital status, shoe size and don't feel obliged to include a photo... it's not a modelling assignment.

Education: Include all relevant academic qualifications from GCSE onwards and any professional qualifications you've acquired along the way. If you have something be proud of, get it on there!

Other skills: It's worth including other skills you've gained, such as being able to drive or speak another language. They show you're a well-rounded person and while they may not be directly relevant to the job, they might just tip the balance in your favour.

Work experience: List your career history with your current or most recent job first. Recruiters want to know where you worked and the job you did. Avoid re-writing a copy of your job description - it doesn't exactly make for an exciting read.

Instead, list what you achieved, your greatest successes and include any factual statistics such as increased revenue, smashed sales targets and performance figures. If you can show you pretty much paid for yourself, you'll be more likely to grab a recruiter's interest.

Hobbies: Hold up there, before you go listing your back catalogue of favourite things to do at the weekend, think carefully about your hobbies of choice. A potential employer is far more likely to be charmed by a 'passion for photography' than an 'addiction to Instagram selfies'. Consider how your hobbies portray you as a person before you start reeling them off. This is your CV, not your Facebook profile. And whatever you do, don't make them up... Murphy's law dictates that if you stick modern history as a hobby on your CV, you'll be interviewed by a modern history fanatic. Awkward.

Avoiding gaps in your CV

Make sure all the dates tie up. Gaps in your CV simply invite the recruiter to guess what you've been up to and come to the wrong conclusion. If you've spent time out of work for whatever reason, just be upfront about it. Consider the softer skills you have learned. A period of job hunting will have developed your project management skills, while time out bringing up children will have nailed your time management skills. Watching Jeremy Kyle on the sofa while eating biscuits, however, doesn't really enhance your skillset, so think carefully on this one.

Tailoring your CV

Take your job hunting seriously and tailor your CV to match the job you're applying for. Yes, we know it's boring, but you don't have to rewrite it every time. Simply highlight specific skills and experience to match the role you're applying for.

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