How to Write a Successful CV

What is CV

The term CV is short for the Latin phrase ‘curriculum vitae’ which simply means ‘direction of life’. In today’s working world, a CV is a personalised document used by job seekers to provide a concise insight and overview into who they are, their educational and employment history, skills, interests, achievments and contact details. Along with a cover letter, CVs are one of the first things seen of a candidate by a prospective employer as you are required to supply them when applying for a job.

When a company advertises a vacancy, they will create a candidate specification that outlines the skills and experiences required to fulfil the roles and duties expected of the vacant position. During the application process, employers will review and compare candidate CVs with the specification in order to see how closely the two match. This is done to ensure that the most suitable candidate is selected.

Write a CV

There’s no proven formula to CV writing, but there are some key do’s and don’ts. As an introduction to who you are, your CV needs to be easy to digest as you may only have 10-15 seconds to impress the employer, who may only glance over your CV. Make it positive, snappy and concise. Sticking to one or two sides of A4, include only relevant information regarding your employment and education background. Double-check your spelling and grammar, but don’t solely rely on spell checking tools. Read over it with fresh eyes and get a friend to proofread it for you, too.

CV Writing – Successful CV Tips

  • Use short, concise sentences. They’re easier to read and digest, which is important because recruiters often only have seconds to glance and scan your CV.
  • Format your CV with easy-to-read fonts. Don’t got over the top with making text bold, underlined or bigger than size 12.
  • Proofread your CV over and over again. Use spell checking and grammar tools, but don’t rely on them.
  • Include your contact details: phone number, email and address. Some people choose to include their online profiles, such as personal websites, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Make sure your employment history, including title and dates, can be easily read and consistently formatted. Order them with the most recent first.
  • Include your personal and past achievements.
  • Follow up all claims with proven examples.
  • Ensure you have suitable referees. Either attach references or simply mention that they’re available.
  • Include awards or recognition received for your work, together with professional memberships and relevant training.
  • Keep your CV honest, factual and to two pages.
  • Send your CV alongside a personalised cover letter.
  • Take ownership and use words such as “determined”, “implemented”, “created”, “devised”, “coordinated”, “conceived”.
  • Seek feedback if you are not achieving any interviews, and if you feel your CV is not reflecting you at your best seek external advice.
  • Use a professional email address, sticking with your name and not silly or offensive words, such as

Top 10 CV Tips

Tip 1 – Sell Yourself

Your CV is a reflection of who you are as a person, so if you want to get noticed you need to highlight your strengths and show off your skill set!

Tip 2 – Precise, Concise and Entice

Keep all information on your CV precise and concise in the aim to entice the reader. Short paragraphs and accurate information will assist in holding the reader’s attention, but be careful not to waffle!

Tip 3 – Honesty is the Best Policy

Have you ever been a prefect at school, managed a busy team, worked for ALAN SUGAR? Never lie about your skills and employment history, as you may not be capable of completing a certain task. Always keep your content honest and an accurate representation of your skills and experience.

Tip 4 – Highlight Skills and Achievements

The key is to make your CV jam packed with your exceptional skills, using stats and figures is a good way to support statements and justify your achievements. Remember to arrange your CV in chronological order so that your latest achievements are read first.

Tip 5 – Defined Layout

There is a traditional way that a CV should be laid out, which follows a coherent format that is easy to follow.

Tip 6 – SPAG

Spelling, Punctuation, Accuracy and Grammar – four key points to consider throughout your CV. Clicking the spell checker will not save you from inaccuracies in your writing, it is vital you read through your CV at least twice! Forward your CV to a friend or family member, as a fresh pair of eyes might spot an error you have missed!

Tip 7 – Cover Letter Accomplice

When you send out a job application it should be accompanied by a cover letter, which justifies why you are perfect for the vacancy.

Tip 8 – Target Your CV

During the job searching process you will be applying to multiple job vacancies and you should tailor your CV to meet each individual role. Focus on the skills required in the job role and then emphasise what strengths you have acquired.

Tip 9 – Keyword Rich

When you upload your CV to a job site such as CV-Library it becomes available to hundreds of recruitment agencies. Recruitment agencies will search for the key skills they require from a candidate, so ensure your CV is rich with sector specific keywords.

Tip 10 – Feedback

Before you send off your CV for that dream job, forward it to friends, family or academic sources for feedback. Not only will it reduce punctuation errors, it will also identify areas that could be improved and expanded on!

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