A Quick Guide to Write a CV

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Obviously your list may be very different depending on your industry but this should give you an idea of the types of things you should be writing down. So before you start writing your CV, make your very own list just like this one. Once you have your list of requirements that your target employers are looking for in applicants, then you have a huge advantage over most other candidates in the job market — because now you know exactly what you need to put in your CV to make it successful — you are not guessing like most other people who simply write a CV, send it out and hope for the best.

Some of the requirements in your list will be easy for you to include in your CV — especially the things that you already have a lot of experience in. However some things may be a bit trickier — particularly when the adverts are asking for things that you have little or no experience of. But this is OK — you just have to be a bit more creative — often you will find that you have a lot of transferable skills that you can draw from your experiences in and outside of work such as education projects, freelance work, volunteering etc.

I will cover this in more detail when we start writing your CV, but first we need to understand a little bit more about the people who will be reading your CV… Recruiters and Hiring Managers. Who reads your CV? They are both extremely busy with little time to spare. Recruiters and hiring managers have packed days; both working to constant deadlines with a million and one tasks to complete. If you want to impress them, make sure your CV takes up as little of their time as possible.


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You need to ensure that your CV is short, sharp and gets your message across quickly. I will show you how to do this in the following chapters, but for now you just need to know that this is a very important factor in the recruitment process.

How to Write a CV for a Job in 7 Easy Steps (15+ Examples)

They have lots of people competing for their attention. As a recruiter my inbox would sometimes have over unread emails in it and I know that hiring managers are swamped with important calls and emails throughout the working week. Once you get a recruiter or hiring manager to open your CV, you need to make sure you hold their attention by making an instant impact. See also my guide to creating a winning CV cover letter. So how do you do this? By making the top part of your CV extremely relevant to them. Again, I will cover how to do this this in more detail in the format, structure and content sections of this guide, but for now you just need to understand importance of making an instant impact with your CV.

They scare easily. If a hiring manager hires a bad candidate, it can literally ruin their business. In a recent survey of recruitment firms that we ran at StandOut CV; we found that it only takes one grammar mistake for a recruiter to start seriously doubting your credibility. So when writing your CV, you need to ensure that your language is flawless and persuasive, the formatting and structure is perfect and you have a proper process in place to run final checks before getting the CV out to market.

Again, I will cover how you actually do this in greater detail during the following chapters. OK, now you already have a huge advantage over most other candidates. You know what your target employers want to see and you know a bit about the people who will be reviewing your CV. So in summary, if your CV is going to win interviews it needs to do the 2 following things. If you can do both of these things, you will land a lot of job interviews.


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  5. If you quickly show a recruiter or hiring manager that you have the skills needed for their job. So over the next few chapters I will explain exactly how you can do this with a structure that highlights the important information and content that will have your desired employers desperate to interview you.

    Now that you know what to include in your CV and who will be reading it, you need to format and structure your CV in a way that will do the following things;. The infographic below gives a high level of overview of the best way to structure your CV. Just to try to keep as close to 2 pages as you can.

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    Quick tip: If you find your CV is coming in too long — cut down some of the detail in your older roles as recruiters will be focusing more on your recent roles. When formatting your CV, simplicity and readability are essential if you want to keep your CV readers happy. Avoid sending your CV in PDF because it is non-editable and sometimes recruiters will need to make slight edits to your CV before they can send it on to hiring managers and clients.

    What next?

    We have a Word CV template you can use here. The font you use just needs to be easy to read, professional looking and used consistently throughout the CV. Avoid using overly complex fonts as they can be difficult to read and may discourage recruiters from reading your CV in full. This an example of a typical that CV structure we have livened up with a bit of colour.

    Standing out but keeping it classy

    Before I delve into the nuts and bolts of each CV section, here is a brief overview of the way your CV should be divided and sub-headed. The images also show how much space each section should take up on a typical 2 page CV. Start the top of your CV with your name and contact details so that the reader knows who you are and how they can reach you if they want to invite you in for an interview. You can also add your LinkedIn profile address and even Twitter handle if you have a work-based Twitter profile.

    Your CV profile is like an introduction that sits just under your contact details. The aim of your profile is to draw the reader in by summarising all of your skills and knowledge in a few punchy sentences that leaves them wanting to read more. Generally your roles should be listed in reverse chronological order from most recent to oldest but there are some occasions where you can make exceptions to that rule. Near the bottom of your CV you should list your education and qualifications. Generally speaking school leavers and recent graduates should include a lot of detail here to make up for the lack of work experience — whereas experienced candidates can afford to have a shorter education section, as their role descriptions will be more important to recruiters.

    Interests are an optional section and should only really be included where they can add value to an application e. Now I will run through how to structure and write all of these sections;. Here are a couple of example CV profiles to give you an idea of how they should look and read. You can check out some more good CV profile examples here. Sitting at the top of your CV, the purpose of your profile is to give a rounded summary of your talents and show what you have to offer an employer, in a few punchy yet professional sentences.

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    Focus on including hard factual skills such as industry specific skills, experience, languages, software knowledge etc. Here is an example of a bad profile section. Read it and see if you can tell what the candidate actually does…. What job would this person be suitable for?

    A sales assistant? A project manager? If you make your profile more factual like this, it will give recruiters a greater understanding of what you have to offer. A core skills section is a very simple but effective section you can add to the bottom of your profile. Here is an example from a candidate applying for a customer service role in retail banking. You can include anything that will be relevant from IT skills and industry knowledge, to education results and achievements.

    Just make sure they are important to the roles you are applying for by checking with relevant job adverts. Your work experience gives you an excellent opportunity to showcase your abilities and really delve into the details of what you can offer an employer. Your role descriptions need to convey that your experience equips you with the skills and knowledge needed to carry out the jobs you are applying for. First I will give you an overview of which roles to include and how to list them — then I will demonstrate how to structure each role for maximum effect.

    The nature of apprenticeships is that you are starting something new and want to develop and learn the skills of a specific trade. Standard of apprenticeship — When applying for an apprenticeship, you need to know the standard of qualification you hope to obtain. This will be important when tailoring your CV to suit the apprenticeship you are applying for.

    Explain your duties at that job and emphasise the specific area of that job which makes it relevant to the desired qualities of the employer. Selling yourself to the employer is the key in an apprenticeship CV. Ensure that you include any skills that you feel you possess that are relevant to both the apprenticeship description but also the trade in general.

    Ensure when referencing your CV that you have somebody who knows you well and has good knowledge of your skills and personality.



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