In order to write a successful CV it’s helpful to begin by understanding why thousands of CVs are rejected by HR professionals and recruiting managers every day.
Try putting yourself in that manager’s position; they have scores of CVs to wade through and invariably in this day and age less time than they’d like to shortlist applicants for interview. Therefore that person is looking for positive reasons to invite you for interview, not the other way around as this makes their lives simpler and easier.
Your objective in writing your CV should be to make their decision both quick and easy for them. So how is this achieved?
How do I look?
The visual layout of your CV is very important. Even though the wording you use may be correct, if people cannot find the information they want quickly they will move on to someone else’s CV. You should use plenty of ‘white space’ in your CV and appropriate headings and section breaks. Try and keep your sentences short and punchy and use bullet points to break up the text under section headings. If applying for a role that requires you to hold certain professional qualifications or skills make sure they’re clearly visible near the top of the page or after your name if that is appropriate. See the profile section below.
How many pages?
It is usually best to try and keep your CV to two pages of A4, unless someone specifically asks you for a longer CV. Despite the literal translation of Curriculum Vitae being, “the Story of your Life”, employers do not want to know your whole life history – just enough to decide whether they should interview you or not.
What information should I include?
This is a subjective point and opinions differ. Generally at Enjoy we feel a good CV should replicate the following points and order:
Your personal details – include name, address, multiple phone numbers, email address, marital status, nationality and whether you have a clean driving licence and your own transport.
Profile – This should be a short summary of your experience, skills and abilities. No more than six lines long you should concentrate on those attributes that will be of interest to your next employer. If you have relevant qualifications mention them very briefly as often employers are looking for keywords on CVs and their eye will be drawn to ‘prized’ qualifications very quickly.
Achievements – Remember that employers want to know what you can bring to their organisation. The most explicit way to do this is to point out where you’ve already added value to other organisations. Start with the strongest point in your favour and perhaps make achievements lower down the order more diverse in subject matter, to highlight your adaptability and willingness to go the extra mile!
Experience – Many people do not include enough details about their previous jobs and experience. The real meat in the CV from a prospective employer’s point of view is your previous experience. If the firms you have worked for previously are not household names or obvious competitors, always include a short sentence on the type of organisation and the specialisms or principal line of business the firm has. The company name may be very familiar to you, particularly if you have worked there many years but may not be to the reader of your CV.
Explain in detail the main aspects of your role within the organisation but try not to make it sound too much like an account of each working day. It’s helpful to explain how your own role interacts with those of your colleagues so employers can get a good handle of the level at which you work.
Education, Qualifications and Training – You need to take a view on how to present your qualifications. If you are a graduate you may choose not to list your ‘O’ Levels/GCSEs, preferring just to indicate the number gained but if your grades were outstanding there’s no harm at all in shouting about them. If you’re not a graduate it’s best to include information on the qualifications you have got unless you feel your work history negates the need. Make sure you indicate the names of the schools, colleges and universities you’ve studied at, when you studied and the title and grade of any degree you studied. Any specialist qualifications are very important to mention unless they no longer figure in your career plans. Training courses should also be highlighted but only if they are relevant for the type of role you are applying for.
Interests – In recent years there has been a trend to omit this section but we feel it is important to give a potential employer a feel for the type of person you are and your hobbies and interests are a good way to do this. In addition several Enjoy clients specifically look in this section for evidence of team engagement so if you play a team sport or have another social hobby let the employer know!
Speling, mistipes and ‘dodgy’ Grammar
Your CV should be carefully checked for errors before you send it to us. Tiny errors in your CV can detract from an otherwise good CV and make you look lazy or careless – not the sort of qualities you want to portray to a potential employer. As you will probably be ‘blind’ to these errors you could ask someone else to check your CV for grammar and spelling errors. Your Enjoy consultant will be happy to help in this regard.