How to write a memorable CV
If there are high numbers of candidates applying for a job you want, you need to promote the best first impression that sells yourself.
Your CV is often the make or break decision for an employer, it provides an insight if you’re a right fit for the company. It’s often the only tool you have to get you in front of an interviewer, so it’s important that you sell your skills, experience and anything else that could give you the edge over other applicants.
Everyone’s approach to a CV is different, making it memorable for the right reasons gives you an advantage. Our many years of resourcing has provided us with an idea of what employers want.
These general tips of what to include and how to write a CV will help you get started.
Where to start?
Contact Details – Include your name, address, email, phone number and LinkedIn profile link at the top of your CV. Making your details current and easy to find will encourage an employer to ring you immediately.
Profile – Write a few sentences to highlight what you’re about. A summary of your personal and professional strengths and what you are hoping to achieve in your next role will go a long way with an employer.
Presentation - Employers and recruiters might receive hundreds of CVs every day, so making yours clear, concise and eye-catching will help keep it at the top of the pile. Use bullet points and bold headings, underlining key points and listing education and experience in reverse chronological order will make your CV easy to follow - and we don’t need to remind you how important spell-checking is! When you’re finished, try to read it from an employer’s point of view. Would you pick up the phone?
Qualifications and Training – The importance of listing these may depend on the role you’re applying for. Specific roles require certain qualifications, and it’s a good idea to show your suitability early on. Remember to include memberships of professional bodies, relevant qualifications, courses attended and relevant skills like languages and technical knowledge. Always be honest - it’s easy for employers to check these details and they may ask to see evidence of qualifications.
Experience – List your work experience with your most current work history at the top, include the role and dates you worked in that position. List your main responsibilities, achievements, duties and skills, highlighting those most relevant to the role you’re applying for. If there are any gaps, make sure you address them head on to avoid awkward questions later on.
Detail – Be accurate and factual with every detail on your CV. Don’t state your reasons for wanting to leave your current role in your CV, as they could be misinterpreted. Salary expectations are also best saved for later to avoid coming across as presumptuous. Avoid typing mistakes at all costs. A simple spell check is not enough: ask someone else to proof read your finished CV.
Further Details/Covering Letter – Depending on how specialist or specific the role you work in or apply for, it may be worthwhile writing a specific cover letter. Or have an appendix at the end of the CV to highlight specific skills or more generic areas of your background that might not be covered in your background. If you have over 20 years’ experience it’s quite difficult to fit this on to 3-4 pages, so putting together extra information like this means you can make the application more bespoke or ensure the employer doesn’t miss out on other skills and experience they are looking for.
References – You can either list your references or put down “references available on request”. There is no better way to show that what you’ve written is true and that you can add real value to the new prospective employer or client, so make sure you have referees or references at the ready. This can expedite the application or really seal the deal when you get to that point.