Writing a great CV

I recently found myself in the situation of applying for a new role and realised with some anxiety that I hadn’t updated my resume for quite a few years.


If I offer any advice it is to keep your CV updated, at least annually, giving you the opportunity to capture all your achievements while they are still relatively fresh in your mind. Here’s some more hints and tips that should be considered when writing or updating your resumé:

  1. First impressions are crucial
    A personal profile at the top of your CV is a great way to introduce yourself and show that you have exactly what your potential new employer is looking for. Avoid waffle, and if you talk about personal qualities make sure you provide evidence of when you have demonstrated the behaviour.
  2. Tailor content to the specific requirements of the role you are applying for
    Follow your profile with a list of relevant skills and experience that demonstrate how you fit the job criteria. Remember to consider any volunteer work as well as training and skills.
  3. Limit the use of jargon
    Unless it’s essential you really should avoid using too many “buzzwords”. Your skills and experience will speak for themselves. You should also remember to avoid acronyms unless you provide a definition, as you never know who will be assessing your suitability and they might not know what you mean.
  4. Provide details of achievements and be specific about your involvement
    As you start to flesh out your employment history don’t just summarise your job description, highlight relevant activities you participated in as well as your personal achievements. Back these statements up with any metrics or key performance indicators to demonstrate how you added value to the organisation.
  5. Don’t waste precious space on hobbies or references
    Keep any additional information relevant to the job unless you have been specifically asked to provide details of any hobbies. Most potential employers will advise if they expect referee data at this stage. Of course, if you spent a month travelling and as a result can now speak a new language which matches part of the job criteria then include it.
  6. Review, amend, review again – and get a second opinion
    Once your potential employer is satisfied that you meet their criteria, the final things that might influence their decision to invite you for interview is spelling, grammar and attention to detail. After you have written the first draft make sure you read through it and check for any mis-spellings and grammatical errors, as well as repetitive use of words and phrases. When you are happy with the final draft, ask a trusted friend or colleague to read through it so they can offer any feedback before you submit your application.
  7. Don’t leave it until the last minute
    Just because the closing date for the dream job is still two weeks away, don’t think you can leave all this to the night before. It will put you under additional pressure and stress which could mean you make silly mistakes. Be kind and give yourself the best chance of success by preparing as much as possible in advance.

None of these points are new by any means, but hopefully by considering them  it will make the difference between success and failure to move to the interview stage… I’ll let you know how I get on!

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