Shape up your CV

There are endless different opinions on how to write a Curriculum Vitae. Whatever guidelines you use you must not forget that it is the most important marketing document you will write in your life.

Each Curriculum Vitae you submit should be tailored to the position, highlighting those dimensions of your background that are most important to the job. Always keep your CV up to date.

Use plain coloured paper and black or blue ink. If you are unable to sell yourself through your CV you will not convince the reader you will be an asset to their establishment.

A CV must be easy to read and understand. Use no more than two fonts – one is best. It’s good to highlight specific words in your CV by making them bold, but you should generally avoid underlining or heavy use of italics, which can affect scan ability.

Do Not write the whole document in CAPITALS

Feel confident and knowledgeable about everything you have written – you will most likely be questioned about it during interview.

Employment details must always start with current role and then listed so the first role you ever held is shown last

Use positive words throughout your CV for example: achieved, completed, delegated, organised, managed

Keep sentences short. If you have a lot of information to say use bullet points e.g.

  • Oversaw a team of ten people
  • Worked with a budget in excess of one million pounds

Use Employment headlines to help the reader scan the CV for example:

January 2000 – March 2011 – XYZ Spa Company – Beauty Manager

Write in the third person so you can give yourself credit without appearing brash, e.g. Jamie has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of sales and marketing. Or, Lesley has consistently reached above sales targets for the last eight months.
You would be well advised to miss out the following details as they clutter the CV and can be mentioned at a later date.

  • Salary details – either current or expected
  • Reasons for leaving last employer – if not obvious
  • Health details – unless chronic illness that would affect ability to work.
  • Children’s names/ages
  • Negative information, words or phrases.
  • References – these can be given at a latter stage.
  • Detailed personal data is irrelevant to the hiring process. Companies are governed by law to not discriminate based on personal characteristics or circumstances.

Lying is very high risk, both during the selection process and after you get hired. Many people have been fired for lying on their CV, even after years of high job performance. Positive spin is good; lying is bad.

Keep the CV to a maximum of two to three pages long. Do not write a book!

Covering Letter

Do not send a CV. out without one!

  • Always write to a named individual.
  • Highlight the key features that make you an ideal person to employ for that position.
  • Keep it brief and do not waffle on.
  • Explain that you will follow your CV up with a telephone call, and ensure that you phone within a week of sending it.
  • In the first paragraph state why you are writing, use the second paragraph for why you are suitable for the position and the third and final paragraph saying that you will be following the CV up with a telephone call.

Lastly do not discriminate against yourself – Read More