It may be a personal preference and individual style when it comes to writing a CV and obviously there are a few things that make the whole process easier for each individual involved, such as us recruiters. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love receiving CV’s that you can tell have had hours of work put into making sure everything is lined up with, tables, fonts, colours and sometimes even images. But the issue is when it comes to getting you registered on our database, they don’t look like that anymore!
Ultimately we are providing a service to you, and with that service we do have a standard format of how to send your CV over to our Clients (that may become your future employer!). I believe that there a few key things that makes your CV look professional and well executed.
- A profile on yourself – This should include a bit of an insight to your professional background and address relevant skills that you have, these include; soft skills and technical skills
- Education – This information can be more important to some employers than others, be sure to include grades and qualifications also
- Career background – List your employers, job title and dates of employment. When writing a bio of what exactly you have been doing within your role don’t be too brief, but on the flip side, you don’t need pages and pages.
- Any interests and hobbies you may have – This is the key part of your CV that will make it more “human”, it allows us and our clients to get a feel for who you are as a person and what you’ll be getting up to outside of work commitments. It can sometimes be hard to write about what you get up to in your spare time, especially if you’re anything like me and just enjoys a night in with food! The best advice I can give you on this is just be yourself, don’t say you’re an Olympic level skier if you can’t even do the snowplough, I’m sure you’ll be discovered on the company ski trip!
- Relevant contact details – phone number, location and your email address, are the key things to mention, we don’t need your NI number as there is no need for it generally at our end, any additional details we need we will ask for. I do want to elaborate on the importance of having a phone number on your CV as it is generally the quickest and most effective way for us to get hold of you!
- Overall layout – Keep your layout simple and easy to read, with “sensible” fonts (stick to just 1) such as Arial or Calibri, it makes it much simpler and quicker for us to read.
- Personalise your CV – I cannot stress the importance enough of tailoring your CV for each application you make, changes will include things like emphasising of certain skills the job will require.
- Pictures – We know you look lovely, but we don’t need to see a picture of you in your smartest business wear, we recruit based on your abilities, not your looks!
- Bad spelling / grammar – I don’t think I can put into words the importance of checking that your CV is grammatically perfect. It will be the first impression we get of you, so be sure to check everything is perfect before hitting send.
- Inappropriate information – We’ve all done it, had the really inappropriate email address that we’ve created when we’re drunk, or when you were 10. For the sake of 5 minutes, create a new one!!! An inappropriate one will set you up for the wrong kind of attention from employers.
Finally, CV’s are very personal things that people will almost definitely have varied opinions on, it should reflect who you are as a person and if done correctly, it will allow you to sell yourself well.
Obviously, there are a few situations where you should allow your creativity to flow when producing your CV, like if you’re a graphic designer, but the common sense approach still applies!