Top 10 CV writing tips

  • May 03, 2018

Writing a great CV can be a daunting task, especially when you want to make the best first impression with prospective employers and convince them that you’re perfect for the job. Here are a few tips on how to write your CV to stand out and secure an interview.

1. Don’t lie

Don’t exaggerate your experience or lie on your CV, particularly in a small area like the public sector. We follow up and check your CV - make sure it’s factually correct and the information can be confirmed.

2. Make it easy for the recruiter to contact you

Surprisingly many candidates send us CVs without a mobile number or email address. Include your contact details on your CV so a recruitment consultant can easily contact you. This is particularly helpful and necessary with interim opportunities that have an immediate start date.

3. Include a personal statement

To grab the attention of the recruiter or employers and evidence you can do the job, write a compelling and personalised summary of your career at the beginning of your CV to highlight your key skills, experience and achievements which are relevant to the role you’re applying for. Don’t forget to also include your qualifications and education, this will instantly illustrate if you are qualified for the position, which is particularly pertinent in professions such as finance and accountancy.

4. Customise your CV with the skills and experience applicable to the role

Tailor your CV for the position, drawing attention to your skills and experience that are relevant to the role and organisation you’re applying for. Optimise your CV by including keyword phrases that are relevant to the job and industry you’re applying to. This can include job titles, skills and industry related terms. Many organisations use Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to automatically screen and shortlist CVs, so using relevant keywords on your CV to help your CV get through automated sifting and in front of recruiters and employers.

5. Highlight your achievements

State your achievements in each role to show the results you delivered for your current and previous employers. This is fundamental and will demonstrate quickly to a potential employer your capability and the potential impact you could make to their organisation.

6. Keep it short and simple

Be clear and concise. Layout your CV in reverse chronological order with your latest experience first. Check the dates are correct and be sure to explain any gaps in your CV.

7. Use plain English

Avoid using language or phrases that a recruitment consultant or employer might not understand. Fully define acronyms to make them comprehensible external to your current employer or industry.

8. Do a spell check

Ensure you check for spelling and grammar mistakes on your CV, particularly the names of organisations and job titles. There are no excuses for a poorly written CV in the modern world.

9. Avoid using a photo

To be considered for the job solely on your skills, experience and accomplishments, avoid using a photo. Discrimination laws in the UK protect personal information such as age, gender and race. Concentrate your CV on your career history, highlighting your previous responsibilities, qualifications and achievements.

10. Always submit a focussed covering letter with your CV

Writing a cover letter to accompany your CV can be invaluable because it can illustrate to a potential employer your interest and passion to work for the company; it can also be an opportunity to highlight your relevant accomplishments, skills and experience for the job. If you’re looking to change industry or make a career change, emphasising your transferable skills or years of experience can show the potential value you can bring to an organisation.

If you need any career advice or help in finding your next role, contact one of our consultants.