Jan Dixon The RED Group

How to write a good CV

What is a CV? Well, it’s the story of your working life and as such should include your work history but it should also show you, as a person, written in your own words.

It’s a sales tools, it’s likely to be the first piece of information the recruiter/HR/hiring manager will see, so make it so they want to know more about you. It’s the tool that will bring you an interview.

What should it include?

A short paragraph, a profile of you as a person, but please don’t include words such as self-motivated; hard working, gives 110%, recruiters/HR/hiring managers see these words all the time, they are meaningless. Show these attributes through the jobs you have had, your achievements and outside interests.

The profile is likely to be the first part that is read and gives you the opportunity to “sell” yourself. Your profile should include your personal attributes, your current skills & qualifications. By reviewing the job description/job specification/job advert you could mention elements that relate to what the employer is looking for. For example: If the job spec mentions experience of managing teams, you need to highlight this element as soon as you can.

Of course it should show your name; an email address and an up to date contact number. You could show your location but you do not need to show your home address. Save a many lines as possible for the more important stuff.

Relevant and current qualifications are to be included but again if you have not studied for some time, don’t include on your first page.

Start with your most recent work experience and don’t write your jobs as if it they are a job description, write it from your point of view, what did you do? What did you enjoy? What did you achieve?

The further away from the now, i.e. 10 years or more, the less information should be included. Usually your most current experience is going to be the most relevant.

Don’t leave gaps in your work history – explain any gaps.

I think it’s good to see Hobbies/Interests on a CV; these could act as an ice-breaker for both interviewer & interviewee, a gentle way into the interview.

Length is best at 2 pages and 3 is acceptable. Have a clear font, make it readable, nothing too fancy; you’re not going for a design award.

Once you have written it all out, go away and come back to it later, re-read and amend it. Get someone else to read through it, you know what they say about another pair of eyes. Re-read it and keep on amending it, as each job you apply for will need you to tailor your CV accordingly. As I said before, make the recruiter/HR/hiring manager want to know more about you.

What it shouldn’t include?

No photo; no bank details; no NI number; home address. No lies (you will be found out!).

the-RED-group logoJan Dixon, FIRP
Working with start-ups, micro businesses and SME’s offering as much or as little recruitment support as required. Pre-selecting the right people for your business and working with job seekers to improve CVs, interviewing & job hunting techniques.
01635 799 774 / 07977 219149
Email: jandixon@the-red-group.co.uk

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