Your CV is one of the most important documents you will ever write. It is your chance to make a first impression with potential employers, and it could be the difference between getting the job or not.
Here are our ten CV writing tips that will help you write a CV that will get you noticed.
1. Use a CV template
Using a CV template will help you to create a CV that is well-formatted and easy to read. There are a lot of free formats available online, just make sure the one you choose is not too busy and doesn’t distract from your content.
2. Keep your CV concise and easy to read
Your CV should be concise and easy to read. This means keeping it to two pages, using clear and concise language, and using bullet points to highlight your key skills and experience. If your CV won’t fit on two pages, then cut out anything out that’s over 10-15 years ago and add a category called Earlier Roles. List the role, company, and dates only.
3. Use keywords throughout your CV
When you are applying for a job online, your CV is likely to be scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) for keywords. These are the words and phrases that are used in the job description. If your CV does not contain the right keywords, it may not be picked up by the ATS and you may not even get a chance to have your CV reviewed by a human.
4. Use active verbs and strong action words
When you are describing your skills and experience, use active verbs and strong action words such as ENABLING, CREATING, BUILDING rather than listing your tasks and responsibilities like a job description. This will make your CV more dynamic and engaging.
5. Quantify your achievements
Whenever possible, quantify your achievements in your CV.
Specify the value you created whilst in each role – did you reduce £x operating costs, increase £x sales, deliver xx more projects, improve quality output by 100%? This will help employers to see the impact of your work. For example, instead of saying “I was responsible for sales,” say “I increased sales by £x million, growing by x% in the first year.”
6. Convey your seniority, for context
Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate someone’s seniority, or where they fit in the organization, just by reading their CV. Your job title might not be enough, as the reader is unlikely to know the company structure.
Consider adding who you report to, especially if it was a senior role.
7. Use the right language
The language you use in your CV can make a big difference in how you are perceived by potential employers.
If you are applying for a strategic leadership role, you want to use language that reflects your ability to think strategically and to see the big picture. You should avoid using “doer” language, and instead use “leadership” language. Focus on using language that demonstrates your ability to think strategically, lead and motivate teams, and transform.
For example, you could say: “I developed a strategic plan that resulted in a 15% increase in sales.”
8. Make sure your CV is readable
It is important to avoid using TLAs (three-letter acronyms) in your CV unless you are sure that the reader will understand them. TLAs can be confusing and can make your CV difficult to read. Your CV will initially be read by a recruiter or HR dept, and they need to understand what you say. If you do use a TLA, you should always explain what it means.
9. Proofread your CV carefully
Before you submit your CV, make sure to proofread it carefully for any errors in grammar or spelling. A CV with errors will make you look unprofessional and could cost you the job.
Once you have finished writing your CV, get feedback from others. This could be friends, family, or a career advisor. Feedback from others can help you to identify any areas that need improvement in your CV. Check your spelling, grammar, font size and avoid being too wordy. Give your CV to someone you trust to give it a sense check.
Even professional CV writers can make mistakes; this is your document and these two pieces of paper represent who you are to a potential future employer.
10. Tweak your CV to relate to the job you are applying for
The last step to writing a great CV is to tailor it to the job you are applying for. This means tweaking the content slightly to highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the role.
Take some time to read the job description carefully and identify the key skills and experience that the employer is looking for. Then, make sure to tweak your CV to better showcase these skills and experience in your CV.
By following these CV writing tips, you can write a CV that will get you noticed by potential employers.
Remember to keep it concise and easy to read, use active verbs and strong action words, proofread your CV carefully, quantify your achievements, get feedback from others, and update your CV regularly.
I hope this helps. Good luck with your job search!