Writing a CV for a potential employer is one of those dreaded tasks we all put off until the last minute. But it’s something that needs perfecting if you want to give yourself the best chance at getting through to the next stage of the process.
So, we have come together and created a short and simple guide on some hints and tips including what to include and what not to include in your CV.
The first thing anyone sees when looking at any piece of paper with writing on, is the way it’s been presented and laid out. The same thing applies to your CV.
You need to make sure all your CV is formatted the same way and follows a theme throughout. So, it’s important that if you have put the first heading in bold, then every heading needs to be in bold. If you have put one subheading in italics, then every subheading needs to be in italics etc. This will ensure the document flows well and is presented in a way that is simple and easy to understand.
It’s also important to think about the order of importance. What do you want the reader to see first? We suggest to individuals to lay out their CV as follows;
2. Address/Contact details
3. Personal Profile
5. Employment (with your current company first)
This way the reader will see the important things on the first page such as your personal details, profile, qualifications and current company.
Try to keep your CV to 2 sides of A4 paper and don’t be afraid to use bullet points. Your CV is there to provide a snapshot of your experiences, not your life story so remember – keep it brief.
Choosing a font may not seem like an important factor when it comes to writing your CV, but you want to come across professional so using a font that’s too animated or hard to read, won’t be perceived well by a potential employer.
We suggest going for those ‘boring’ fonts that are easy to read and will make your CV look professional. Fonts like;
• Times New Roman
Another tip is to keep your text between sizes 10-12 because you don’t want HUGE text to make your CV look bigger than it is, and you don’t want small text so you can try to get in every single detail. You just want something in between that’s legible.
It’s also worth noting that by justifying the text it puts all of your text in line with the document and makes it look much neater. (Thank us later!)
We can almost predict which words are going to appear in someone’s profile of their CV without even looking at it because we see the same words over and over again written by everyone else. But you want to be different and stand out from the crowd, so avoid cliché words like;
• Strong work ethic
And try to use words like;
At the same time, don’t just throw these words out there. You must give examples in your previous employment or other areas of your CV to evidence this, otherwise you will lose credibility.
If you have used a word that doesn’t really apply to you, then take it out of your CV and think of another one that does apply to you. There’s no point lying in your CV because you will get caught out as many interviewers will walk you through your CV and ask questions based upon this and may even ask for further evidence to prove this, so if you lie it will become clear and you will risk losing the job by lying or over-exaggerating the truth.
Honesty is the best policy!
Another pair of eyes
Once you have finished your CV, run a quick spell and grammar check and then ask someone else to proofread it.
After looking at the same document for hours or even a document we have written ourselves, we are far less likely to spot a mistake as your brain reads it as you want it to be read, so it’s always a good idea to have a second person with a fresh pair of eyes to read through it to double check for any errors.
This is also a good way to tell if your CV is interesting or not by asking this person for honest feedback. At the end of the day, the potential employer reading your CV is also human so, make sure your CV grabs the attention of the reader!