Ok, we all know a CV is pretty important when it comes to finding work, but sometimes, it’s getting the time to sit down and put pen to paper that’s the biggest hurdle. While it may seem ok to tweak the same CV you’ve had for years each time you start looking for a new job, you need to stop fooling yourself; it’s not.
If you’re short on time, find yourself procrastinating over what font to use, or simply have no idea where to start, we’ve put together this helpful guide with CV writing tips, templates and examples to take the pain out of putting together your job application.
Related article: How to write a CV
Found a job you like? Excellent, now comes the hard part – polishing your old CV off to make sure your application shines. You’ve got the basics covered from personal details to education and experience but now’s the tricky bit – making yourself relevant and proving you’re the best person for the role, or at least a first interview.
To help you on your way, here’s our top five CV writing tips:
# 1. Check for typos
We can’t stress this enough. Poor spelling is a pet hate of most recruiters. Make sure you spell check each time you amend the documents and also ask a friend to proof the final version of your CV. Also, avoid Americanisms; you’re not writing a resume, it’s a CV.
# 2. Read the job description
It’s very easy to get blown away by an impressive sounding job title or an exciting salary and benefits package, but before you spend too much time on applying for ‘that dream job,’ make sure your know all the role’s requirements. If you’re happy it’s suitable, use those requirements to mould your CV and show you’re a good fit for the role.
# 3. Tailor your CV for the role
Avoid falling into the one CV fits all category. Instead target the document for the role you’re going for. Do some research so you understand what employers are looking for and apply this knowledge to make sure you get to interview.
# 4. Use specific keywords
As more and more recruiters use job sites to search for candidates based on specific keywords, it’s important to try and include the terms which describe you and relate to the kinds of position you’re looking for in your CV.
# 5. Apply pro-active descriptions
When describing previous experience and responsibilities, it’s a good idea to use the STAR model as a useful way of communicating key points clearly and concisely within the job details section of your CV. Once you’ve identified the ‘situation’, ‘task’, ‘action’ and ‘result’, formulate this into a short key point, making sure to include how you achieved the result, and how your actions addressed the initial situation and task.
Now you know how to make your CV stand out, why not take a look at some examples below:
Jennifer Lourdes - PA
Jennifer works as PA to the director at a small production company, and is looking for a new role. In her CV, she concentrates largely on key skills such as organisation and proficiency with Microsoft Office. However, she has also highlighted specific skills which make her stand out from the crowd: for example, taking responsibility for Health and Safety in the office.
Christine Dailey - Graduate
Christine has recently left university, and has limited work experience. In order to make the most of her CV, she has included a lot of information about her education and qualifications. She has written about modules relevant to roles she is applying for, and has written a short paragraph about her dissertation. She has also drawn attention to the transferrable skills she has acquired through her degree, and has written about skills acquired through her involvement in the university choral society.
James Smythe – Sales manager
James works as a Telesales manager, looking after a team of eight sales executives. In his CV, he highlights key sales figures to illustrate his skill as a salesperson. He also gives examples to demonstrate other useful management skills, such as teamwork, leadership and networking.
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