Five Great Tips on how to Write your CV

Your CV hopefully portrays an accurate, detailed and relevant insight into your work life to date.  It should also demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience to apply for the job.

5 great tips on how to write a CV

However, don’t think you’re alone in the application process. You could potentially be competing against hundreds of equally qualified candidates. You don’t get a chance to wow the hiring managers at this stage with your dazzling wit and personality. So, for now, your CV has to do the talking for you.

Below you’ll find five top tips on how to write your CV, to ensure it keeps moving up the pile, to get you to the next stage:

Use Keywords:

Keywords are essential in your CV to help hiring managers compare your CV to the job specification. Some hiring managers will use a tool that skims the CV for them. Any that don’t include certain ‘keywords’ a number of times automatically get discarded.

To make sure you’re using the appropriate keywords, read through the job description, identifying frequently mentioned industry terms, acronyms and any key requirements for the role.

Scatter the keywords throughout your CV but keep it natural. You need to ensure that your CV is not just relevant, but also easy to digest.

Make It Readable: 

No one wants to come face to face with a wall of text, so break your CV down into bite-size chunks. You want your CV to be a maximum of 2 sides of A4 paper, so:

  • Use short, punchy sentences where possible
  • Use bullet points where you can
  • Ensure your CV is formatted in the right way (reverse chronological order)
  • Make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors

Make Your Personal Statement Work For You:

Don’t assume someone will wade through your CV to find the information they require. If recruiters have a pile of CVs to get through and yours doesn’t immediately highlight that you’re suitable for the role, they will discard your CV. So, make sure you include your most pertinent points upfront.

Emphasis your key skills and your relevant work experience in the opening paragraph. Keep each sentence short and to-the-point. If necessary, you can go into more detail in the specific work experience section later.

Find out how to write your personal profile here.

Show Don’t Tell:

Don’t TELL the recruiter why you were so great in your previous job, give them EVIDENCE to verify your claims. Everyone understands numbers:

  • You increased profits, say by how much
  • If you brought in new clients, say how many
  • If you boosted sales, say what percentage

Employers want to know what value you will bring to their company. Show them what benefit you added to your previous company so that they know, at the very least, what you’re capable of.

Tailor Your CV:

One size doesn’t fit all. If you want your CV to stand out from the crowd, it has to be relevant to the job you are applying for. This may mean you have multiple versions of your CV, for each job you apply for.

As we said above, go through the job description and pull out the keywords and phrases they use. Highlight the required skills, and match each one with a relevant example from your work history.

Finally, when you send your CV out, be sure to name it something like YOUR NAME – CV, not CV1, or CV final versions. Not only is this not professional, but your CV will also get lost among the other applicants. Remember, your aim is to make your CV stand out.

Read our FREE guide to CV writing here.