Our Top Ten CV Tips
Candidates know their CV is important, but are too often tempted to write every detail of every job. That’s not a good idea. Your CV is simply there to get you an interview. It needs to be memorable and grab the reader’s attention and get them to want to meet you to find out more. Ideally a CV should be 2 pages long, but they can slip to 3, and don’t reduce the font to a tiny size and expand all the margins to the limits, as that just looks cluttered.
Here’s our Top Ten Tips on writing a great CV:
1 – Remember, your CV will be read online first
Your CV is no longer a paper document. This means it has to work on a computer screen. Your powerful punches have to come in early to entice the reader to scroll down to read more.
2 – Don’t use your full address
With a need to use early space wisely, put only your name, home town, mobile and email across one line. Employers may care if you’re in Cambridge, but not that you live in the High Street.
3 – Personal Statement – State the Obvious!
Have about 4 or 5 lines about you and your career ambitions. You may feel you’re stating the obvious, but don’t assume the reader knows anything about you. Keep this crisp – make every word work. If you have a psychometric assessment, you may find something you can quote – it adds a little extra objectivity. Here’s a free psychometric if you’d like to explore this further.
4 – Next, List Your Skills – No more than 6 of your strongest
We see CV/resumes with 20 skills. It leaves an impression that this person gets stuck in detail. Some people even list different skills in each previous job, but that eats space, and the skills you need to list are those that apply to the job you want. Just list 6 skills that are real sustainable strengths you can justify with examples and stories. Don’t waste time giving all the detail here – the interview is the place for that.
5 – List 6 Notable Achievements
List 6 key achievements, date them and quantify them. Do not put anything older than 10 years ago – it makes you look irrelevant.
6 – Unless you’ve just graduated, leave your education to the end
Education often gets squeezed in before Career – Don’t do it! It gave you your career foundation, but what you’ve achieved at work is what counts and what potential employers will want to understand first.
7 – Career
Start with your current job and go back from there. Give the employers name, describe what they do in one line, and then describe your MAIN responsibilities and MAIN achievements. Our preference is for a commentary, but a few bullet points will suffice. If you’ve been promoted during your time, list the leaving job only and mention you were promoted in your commentary.
8 – Make Yourself Interesting!
If your interests add value and interest, you should use them, but if all you can put is reading and gardening, then best not put anything at all.
9 – Make a deliberate choice of font
Make a deliberate choice about font. Don’t just as use what’s in front of you. Our favourites are Calibri and Trebuchet, which are clean and contemporary – just never use Comic Sans unless you want to teach 5 year-olds.
10 – Keep it black and white
Content is king as far as your CV is concerned. Don’t distract the reader with lots of colour and fancy footwork. Make the readers life easier – keep it black and white (and keep some white space around to avoid a cluttered look). And don’t include your photograph, unless you’re applying for an overseas role where its accepted practice (e.g. Switzerland).
Keep your CV clear and straightforward. That’s the key to good communication. If you’d like a CV template, simply download our preferred format here: http://www.rsegroup.agency/2016/we-need-you/a-sample-cv/