Before you even start the search for your new career, creating a standout CV is paramount. Get it right and you’ll get noticed, get it wrong and you could be rejected or overlooked for the perfect opportunity.
Whilst it’s important to tailor your CV for each position you apply for, there are certain guidelines to follow to ensure consistency and most of all, secure you that all-important interview.
Here is King Recruit’s ultimate guide to writing your CV…
Formatting and CV Layout.
If you’re unsure of how best to format your CV, it’s worth reviewing a few templates to familiarise yourself. MS Word has some great templates. Alternatively, if you want something more ascetic, try some of the visual CV websites out there. We like the following, but a simple Google search will get you there too.
Generally, the standard length of a CV is kept to 2- 3 pages. What may work for one may not for another, and so for some professionals, more or less may be appropriate. As long as the content is relevant your CV could span one or four pages!
To ensure that the key areas of your CV are easy to identify, highlight headings in a bold, larger font. These headings could include Work Experience, Key Skills or Qualifications.
The formatting must be consistent throughout. Ensure that the font is the same throughout, that also goes for the spacing and your title headings.
You could have the best content and formatting but that hard work will all be undone if you do not proofread and amend any typos or inaccuracies. We recommend Grammarly if you are ever unsure.
As your CV will be tailored for each position saving your basic CV in Word is a good choice, however when it comes to sending your CV covert to a PDF to ensure that the format isn’t lost.
What should your CV include?
Your name, job title or profession and your contact details.
The first part of your CV, positioned at the top of the page, should contain your name, professional title or current job role and your contact details. When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are essential. There is no need to add in your full address, your town and county will suffice.
If you have an up to date LinkedIn profile add the link here or any other social media account that is relevant to your application.
The first third principle – Your CV is a sales tool
Use the first third of your CV as a sales tool and include a profile summary and bullet points of your key achievements. Try to avoid subjective statements like, ‘I have excellent communication skills’ and include more facts, figures and demonstrable examples of where you have added value/excelled in your career.
The introduction paragraph, Highlights and Accomplishments
The summary paragraph is a crucial and often subjective introduction which summarises who you are, what you are and why someone would hire you. The highlights section is simply that, it’s allowing the reader to quickly get acquainted with your key skills. Followed by solid accomplishments or key achievements section that delivers facts, figures and therefore the potential ‘ROI’ Return on Investment a company would gain by hiring you.
Experience and employment history
The employment history section of your CV gives you a chance to outline your previous jobs and work experience. List your experience in reverse chronological order as your recent role is the most relevant to the employer. As a standard rule of thumb that you should include around 10 years of job history, however, consider how relevant older pieces of work experience are to the jobs that you are applying for. If some of your earlier jobs can effectively communicate the strengths and abilities that you want to emphasise then add them to your CV.
Start by detailing your Job Title, the Company you worked for and the dates worked there. There is no need for a comprehensive list of all of your duties. Bullet point the key responsibilities of your role (it’s always a good idea to take these from your job specification).
Take into account that if the role you are applying for requires experience in an element of your duties be sure to include this. Here you can detail your skills and achievements. Use examples and figures where possible to emphasise your skills.
Education and qualifications
Your education should be listed in reverse chronological order, just as you did with your work experience. Include the name of the School/University or College, and the dates you attended (a year is sufficient in most cases), followed by the qualifications and grades you achieved.
If the Courses were professional and not in an education setting detail the Course provider.
Technical skills: Such as proficiency with MS Office packages, CRM systems and Business Intelligence Tools to name a few!
Hobbies and interests: If you wanted to insert some personality into your CV feel free to add to your interests. Standard hobbies like “reading” add no value to your CV, however, if after researching the company, if they perhaps did a mountain trek for charity and this is a hobby of yours including this may give you that common ground advantage. Team sports at college or “Head Girl” are great early indicators of leadership, a potential competitive edge and the ability to collaborate effectively.
References: Including the details of your referees is no longer a standard requirement, you may write “CV’s are available upon request” however this section is no longer necessary.
What not to include
A photograph of yourself: In some countries, it’s common practice to include a photo or headshot of yourself on your CV, however, the UK is not one of them!
Age and date of birth: The only dates that should be on your CV are from employment and your qualifications. Your age doesn’t affect your ability to do the job, and it’s illegal for employers to ask about age under the Equality Act 2010.
Marital status: Like your age, your marital status and dependents don’t affect your ability to do your job. These details are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, and it’s against the law for employers to ask about them, so don’t include them on your CV.
For CV advice or advice on any aspect of the job application process, please contact one of our friendly team at King Recruit on 01392 790725.
Other articles you may like:
- Be Your Own Brand https://www.kingrecruit.com/be-your-own-brand/
- How to be the S.T.A.R candidate https://www.kingrecruit.com/s-t-r-candidate/
- Interview Body Language https://www.kingrecruit.com/interview-body-language-getting-right/
- 10 Killer Questions to ask at Interview https://www.kingrecruit.com/10-killer-questions-to-ask-at-interview/