Writing a CV is easy, but writing a great CV is not. If your approach to CV writing is to simply list all of your achievements and skills, you are not going to stand out from the competition. You are firmly sitting in the ‘easy CV writing’ category!
To help you transition over to the ‘great CV writing’ category, we have 7 ultimate tips on how to write an award winning CV…
1. Don’t embellish or lie
Let’s first of all address the elephant in the room – don’t lie on your CV. Although you may feel that it is the best way to get noticed, you are likely to get caught out as soon as you enter the interview.
If you don’t have all the skills and qualifications the employer has requested, it doesn’t mean to say you won’t stand a chance of getting hired. You should instead focus upon what you can do rather than what you can’t.
Even a small embellishment could come back to haunt you, and you may struggle during the interview to back up your claims. If you were to be hired based on a lie, you could quickly be fired when the employer realises. It just isn’t worth the hassle or the time wasted for both parties.
Find out more here : Can you be fired for lying on a CV?
2. Use an appropriate structure
The average time an employer spends reading a CV is between 10-20 seconds. This will be the time they spend on an initial assessment of who should make the next stage. Some hiring managers like to weed out the poor applications and create a smaller pile of ‘potentials’.
From this point on you may find that the hiring manager spends more time reading the CVs they’ve short listed, but you won’t make it that far if you don’t use a clear and correct structure.
Make all of your sections easy to navigate, and consider the best font style, size and spacing that will achieve this. Look back over your work and see if you can quickly find what the employer would want to see – the right skills, qualifications and relevant experience.
Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. From the job advert that you’ve created, what would you want to quickly spot on a CV? Taking this approach will ensure you highlight all the relevant parts, and make it as easy as possible for the manager to say, ‘Yes, this is what I want’.
3. Tailor your CV to the role
Everyone should write a CV specifically to the employer and role they are applying for – and that includes you! It shouldn’t matter if you are going to apply to numerous different companies, and it still doesn’t matter if each of those jobs is identical – you should still tailor your CV to each employer.
Why? Because it makes them feel special, and shows that you care about them. Equally as important, it makes for a far better CV as it will focus upon what they deem to be important to the role. A generic CV will fail to address the specifics, and will make it harder for the manager to recognise your potential.
See how it’s done – How to tailor your CV for interview success
4. Get to the point
Now that we know that the hiring manager will only skim read your CV for a few seconds, we can conclude that each sentence should be brief and to the point. Writing a relevant CV is imperative if you want to keep the readers attention, and allow them to find what they need quickly.
Every single word you write should be adding value, and should be steering the employer towards wanting to find out more. Even the hobbies section of your CV can demonstrate your soft skills further, like team work, communication and leadership.
There are lots of ways to write a sentence to describe something, so check back over your initial draft to see if there is a way of chopping anything out that isn’t needed.
5. Demonstrate industry knowledge
Having the right skills, qualifications and experience is the first step to gaining an interview. But what will really set you apart from your competition is how you can convey your commercial awareness and industry knowledge.
Keep your finger on the pulse by reading the company’s website and social media pages. Also, scour the internet for other publication on the industry and read reviews, magazines, newspapers, and so on. You need to keep up to date with the latest trends in the market and anything else that would help you to answer any questions during an interview. Using the right jargon within your CV will help to show that you know what you’re talking about.
6. Show achievements and performance
An employer will read a CV to find out two things:
Have they got the right skills, qualifications and experience?
Are they good at what they do?
The first one is quite easy to demonstrate on a CV, but most people fail to recognise that past achievements and performance are very important to an employer looking to hire. So how does one demonstrate performance on a CV?
The easiest solution is to provide examples of your past achievements and results. You could even consider having a section on your CV which is entirely dedicated to outstanding achievements. In addition, for each of your previous roles you could provide examples alongside your daily tasks and responsibilities. But remember to only do this for relevant roles.
Examples of your performance can be demonstrated through the use of figures, stats, graphs, generated revenue, profit, contracts negotiated, and customer complaints solved, and so on. Don’t be afraid to even attach an example of your work if this is possible.
Click here to find out why your achievements are so important on your CV.
7. Check your contact details
Finally, don’t forget to check that your contact details are both present and correct. As obvious as this tip sounds, you’d be surprised at how many employers are unable to get hold of a potential candidate because there was a letter or number missing from their email.
Triple check your personal contact details, and make sure you can respond quickly. Our advice would be to create a new email address specifically for employers to contact you. Giving them an old email address could mean that it gets lost amidst the hundreds of spam emails. It will also allow you to create a professional email address with your name, instead of using ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ – rather inappropriate for a CV don’t you think?
When it comes to providing a contact telephone number, make sure you have a professional voicemail recording setup, assuming you may be at work when they call. Above all else, make it as easy as possible for them to contact you so they don’t have to keep chasing you or jumping through hoops just to request an interview.
Don’t make the mistake of providing TMI – too much info – in the personal details section – this could result in you being discriminated against. To find out more about discrimination and how you can avoid it, see Was I discriminated against during the recruitment process?