By Nicki Wilson, Genie Recruitment
When producing a CV I see such a varied number of structures, creativity, pages, and styles. In all honesty the best rule to follow when constructing your life’s work into a document is… keep it simple! Not to be confused with making it totally basic though. Here’s some top tips to follow when constructing your CV:
Make it in Word
By all means make a fancy schmancy version on Canva if you want to but you should always have a copy in Word especially if you are sending to large companies or recruiters. Why no pop art version you ask? Because the systems that most companies use will not be able to pick up any of the information in your cv, so you may be sending it out to 1000 companies, but most will never be able to filter the cv into the good pile.. yes really! Keep it simple. A word copy or a pdf copy will do just fine!
Correct Contact Details
Check, check and check again. Are your digits correct, did you update to you latest phone number, is your email still in use? We get a lot of CVs through; you call the number and -----------------out of service. All that effort to showcase yourself and boom can’t even get hold of this superstar…thank you next!
Doesn’t have to be long. Rule of thumb would be a nice paragraph summarizing your professional endeavors with a hint of who you are. Here’s mine:
Naturally, a high achiever with a flair for sales I expect high standards from myself and consider self-education to be the answer to success, this opinion spans to all aspects of my life. My passionate, friendly, and confident nature has allowed me to excel in an environment where relationship building is core to the prosperity of a business. I am a well-balanced individual and am confident in achieving the goals that I set for myself. As a person I am very independent with an entrepreneurial spirit which has proven to be invaluable when it comes to working both on my own initiative and within a team environment.
Genuinely I have not changed this summary since I was a student as I still think it represents me well. You could add more job specific relevancy or years of experience in a certain field, but the profile does not need to be over complicated.
Not always essential but useful if your industry requires certain skills, software, qualifications, achievements etc. Can be useful to put a bulleted summary of the relevant skills you possess under your Profile.
Start with a 2-3 liner introduction to the company in case the reader does not have a clue what they do. Then go into your Responsibilities followed by your Achievements. Keeping this structure across all your job roles with the correct dates served will create a beautifully structured CV. I always advise that achievements if you can include numbers contributed, % growth brought in during your tenure or a great project you worked on that you are proud of. If you happen to have a job description of the role you are applying for or even just find one online there will be a string of keywords the roles will be looking for. Highlight the keyword and try to add this somewhere in your job roles responsibilities throughout your cv.
Education and Training
In line format including where you got the grades, what course it was, and the grade achieved for the highest-ranking qualifications. Then in summary i.e., 10 GCSE’s A* to C
Additionally in this part of the CV it is good to add any useful training you have had or additional courses in which you have participated.
I often get asked why you would put this but if the reader is particularly into the same hobbies, it really could be a great ice breaker. Being a bit more specific than… travel, gym, socialising might show more of who you are to your potential employer i.e., travelled to over 50 countries many as a solo traveller may pique an interest in the ready and demonstrate your confidence in new environments.
This is also where you would add any charity work or volunteering you have been involved in.
Always state the languages known as many briefs from employers seek out specific skills in this area.
Also, worth noting whether you have a driving license as many job roles require the ability to drive.
How long should it be?
I do not believe a 2 pager is optimum like a lot of advice out there, I think if you have so much to show you need to put it into 5 pages then good for you go wild. Just not too wild, I think anything past that is probably not going to get read or appreciated so 2-5 pages would be great as long as the information is concise, non-repetitive and interesting throughout.
To summarise I always believe you should be the one writing the CV as you are best person to tell your own story. Keeping it structured, simple with a splash of personality and a lot of keywords throughout will hopefully put you top of the pile for your dream role.