Did you know that employers spend a maximum of seven seconds reading your CV? Most job vacancies will attract dozens of applicants, so employers will only select the best of the best to call for an interview. So, you’ve really got to make sure that your CV stands out from the crowd and secures you an interview, rather than being made into a paper airplane and thrown across the room.
We’re going to show you how to write a CV that will land you that job interview. Let’s get started!
The most common and most effective way to structure your CV is by using the reverse chronological CV method. With this CV format, you will list your relevant experience under a variety of sections such as employment and education in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent position and working backwards.
At the very beginning of your CV you should include some basic information about yourself. Include your name, email address and phone number. It may be beneficial to include your address or your postcode as it can let potential employers know if you live close by. Leave your social media profiles out of your CV unless you're applying for a job in which it makes sense to include them, such as a digital marketing role. Some people often include their LinkedIn profile as this can be complementary to your CV.
Avoid including photographs of yourself on your CV as this can leave employers in a difficult situation regarding discrimination laws, and they may have to discount your CV altogether. Leave out your age and gender, too, for the same reason.
2. Personal Statement
A personal statement can make or break your CV. It is essentially a short synopsis of your core skills, achievements and ambitions placed somewhere near the top of your CV to draw your prospective employer in. Ensure that your personal statement is free from over-used clichés and buzzwords, such as “I’m a people person” or “For as long as I can remember I’ve had a passion for administration”. Instead, craft a punchy, concise statement catered to the role you’re applying for. It can be helpful to refer to the job description and relate this to your key skills.
3. Employment History & Education
Under the headings of Employment and Education, list any relevant experience using the reverse chronological method. Ensure that you include the name of the company that you worked for, the location, your job title and the dates of your employment. If you’ve been promoted within one company then separate this out with dates. It’s great idea to highlight these promotions to potential employers.
When listing your achievements and skills, explain how you developed them: “I managed the social media accounts for our company and by creating more engaging content I increased our click-through rates by 150%". Replace passive verbs with powerful action verbs and avoid clichés to make your CV stand out.
When listing your qualifications, ensure that you include recent industry training or qualifications, no matter how insignificant they may seem. This demonstrates that you’re striving to learn, pursuing personal development and keeping your skills up to date.
Employers will scan your CV rather than read it like a book, so don’t be afraid to use bold, easy-to-read formatting to highlight key information about yourself. Utilise your space effectively with bulleted lists, section headers and bold keywords. Ensure that your CV is no longer than two pages and that your margins are between 0.5 – 1 inch. Including ATS-friendly keywords and formatting will take your CV to the next level, too.
Proofreading is the crucial final step in writing your CV. What could be worse than spending hours formatting and writing a fantastic CV only to have it rejected by employers because you misspelt your name in the first line?! Nothing will put an employer off more than a spelling or grammatical error in your CV, especially if you’re applying for a role that requires written communication skills. Ask a friend or colleague to proofread it, too.