How To Write An Interesting and Effective CV


1. Don’t Write ‘ Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of your CV

I still see lots of clients start a CV with this as a header. It serves no purpose and ends up looking as though you’ve just tried to fill some space. It will be very obvious to an employer what it is they have in front of them – and if it isn’t you need to go right back to basics. Delete this from your CV.

2. How to Open Your Personal Statement/Profile

Are you a ‘hardworking, reliable individual able to work as part of a team and independently’? So is everyone else. I can’t tell you the number of CVs I’ve read that start with this – and employers are sick of it too. You need to start with something much more engaging that will inspire the employer to continue reading and not chuck your CV in the bin.

For example, if applying for Retail – start as you mean to go on with ‘I’m a highly experienced and motivated Retail Assistant with over 5 years experience within a variety of retail and customer service focused environments’. Make sure it’s relevant for the role you’re applying for.

3. Don’t Use Generic Terms to Describe Your Skills

If I were an employer looking to hire an experienced Administrator, I wouldn’t want one with ‘good IT skills’ or an ‘average typing speed’. I want someone who can list the specific IT packages they’ve used and for what purpose, and if relevant their exact typing speed and ability to compose accurate correspondence.

Don’t under sell yourself. It’s easy when you’ve been in an industry to think that if you put down your job title, an employer will make assumptions about what you’ve achieved in that role. Make sure you use the job specification to tailor your experience to the job you’re applying for and paint a picture of yourself as having already done that role.

4. Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades

A one size fits all CV isn’t going to impress anyone – employers don’t want a chameleon, willing to do any job that’s offered to them. They want someone who wants to the job they’re advertising and who wants to work for them as a business. Someone who can articulate their passion and drive for a particular role or industry is much more likely to stand out when applying for those roles, rather than someone who states they’re willing to do anything and happy to re-train.

If you’re happy to re-train and learn, find something you’re passionate about and start pursuing it now. Don’t wait for a job to come a long and try to convince an employer you’ll learn on the job. Demonstrate some drive and motivation and you’ll be out in front against the other jobseekers.

5. Back Up Your Skills with Experience

Or at the very least have an example in mind for each key skill you list on your CV. One of my clients attended an interview recently and were caught out when the employer picked out two of the skills listed on their CV and they didn’t have any concrete experience to back up what they’d written.

When writing your CV keep a separate version for yourself that includes the experience you want to use to sell yourself to an employer – you can take this with you to interview and refer to it when needed. It’s better to look over prepared and be articulate then not know what to say.

Source: Elaine Mead, www.learnist.org 

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