Some handy tips and suggestions…
Taking the time to develop a professional CV will certainly create the best first impression, with a hiring manager or recruiter. A well written CV will give you a competitive advantage and help you “stand out from the crowd”, giving you the best possible chance of securing an interview.
You will find that there are often many conflicting recommendations on what makes a professional CV. The best CV communicates all the relevant details in a concise and clear manner, it easy to read and is populated with all the relevant facts and figures that demonstrate your experience, achievements and potential. If a CV is hard to follow and read, it will not best represent you and is likely to be overlooked.
Following the theme of creating a clear and concise CV, we have set out below a basic framework you may wish to follow:
Remember to avoid writing in the first or third person, instead use bullet points e.g. “Managed a team of four engaged in business analysis.”
Typically a CV should cover the following areas:
Personal Details will generally appear first. This will include your name, address and contact details i.e. home and mobile telephone numbers and your preferred email address. It is not necessary to include age, date of birth or marital status – although you may if you wish. You do not need to include any other personal details such as gender, race, height or weight.
Personal Profile will typically appear next on the CV. A paragraph providing a brief introduction to who you are, what you have done and what you can offer. This is your chance to sell yourself and let a potential employer understand who you are; what your core skills are; what your current situation is; and what kind of role you are looking for. But be careful not to ‘oversell’. Aim to keep the profile factual, not subjective
Major Achievements should be listed – no more than say six in number. This is a great way to catch the reader’s attention. It should however, be presented in a factual and objective manner. A good tip here is to start statements with action verbs such as ‘created’, ‘exceeded’, ‘developed’ etc.
Employment History normally comes next. Always start with you most recent job and more emphasis should be put on this in regard to content. You should highlight a combination of key responsibilities and achievements. This should be written in a way that sells you to a potential employer. It is important to describe your duties and responsibilities in a ‘features and benefits’ style so a potential employer understands how your skills can benefit their organisation.
Company Description – Provide a brief description of the company you work for highlighting turnover, sector, number of employees and development of the company over the period of your employment This will show your relevant experience and what you have achieved.
Education and Skills may come earlier in your CV if your work experience is limited. Otherwise it can be placed lower down. As an experienced professional, your potential employer will be more interested in what you have achieved since leaving school. List your highest qualification first along with dates, grade of pass and college/university name. A simple listing of the number of O-Levels/GCSEs/A-Levels will be sufficient along with dates and school name.
Skill listings should also indicate your level of experience / aptitude with other relevant skill areas such as software packages and foreign languages e.g. French to A Level standard, SAP systems experience.
Professional Qualifications and membership of professional organisations e.g. CIMA, ACA or ACCA, this should also include a brief listing of the relevant professional training you have received and accomplished. It may also include what professional organisations you are a member of.
Training Courses should also be listed under a separate heading where appropriate.
Hobbies and interests – You may wish to include a brief list of your main hobbies and interests.
Reference Details – Either “Available on request” or showing two most recent referee’s.
We recommend that you don’t include:
- Reasons for failure of job, exams, relationship, business etc.
- Coloured ink or intricate patterns or borders
Whilst the above shows a typical order of how they might appear, the order may vary depending upon your experience and the type of role you are applying for. A more experienced professional may wish to put their work experience and major achievements above education, whereas a recent graduate may wish to feature their education and qualifications above their work experience.Download our example template
- A good CV should ideally be a maximum of three pages. Aim to ensure the content is clear, structured, concise and relevant.
- Use bullet points rather than full sentences as this will help minimise word usage and make it more clear and concise.
- Tailor your CV to each job application.
- Make sure you check your CV for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes and ensure that it is easy to read.
- A potential employer will use the CV as a basis for interview, so make sure that any gaps in career history are explained and that any falsehoods and inaccuracies are avoided at all costs.
- Salary details should not be included on your CV, but should be included in your covering letter.
- A good covering letter should always accompany and capitalise on your CV.
For further career advice or a formal discussion about your job search please contact us.Contact us