Writing a good CV can be overwhelming; you have to make enough of an impression to stand out from hundreds of CVs! There are lots of different ideas about what the best CV will look like and you can find thousands of examples and templates online. This article is designed to help people write a good cv, one that will resonate with the recruiter. Afterall, it is the recruiters attention you need to attract!

The two page CV myth

Keeping your CV to two pages is a myth that belongs back with your school days.

At the time that was probably enough space to fit in the grand work experience of a paper round and sticking up down at the local skittle alley but as you have gained more experience both paid and voluntary it is important that you show this off on your CV.

Recruiters love to have more information to get a decent view of your experience.  Having said that, if you’re getting on to page 5 then a smaller summarised CV would be better when applying.

Let’s go through each section of the CV to see if you can make any improvements!

Structure of a good CV

A professional summary at the start of a CV provides a great indication of the candidate’s interest in a role. It’s also an excellent opportunity to drop in some key skills or buzzwords that might get lost in your main CV.

For example, if you were applying for a role in administration you might use buzzwords such as; good time management, highly organised and highly proficient in Microsoft office.

If you have found your dream job online take time to read over the job description or advert and enhance your professional summary to include some of the buzzwords the employer / agency have used. This will automatically draw their attention to your CV and make them more intrigued to find out more about you.

The home tab of Microsoft word has all you need to ensure you create a great layout for your CV. Font size anywhere between 11 -14 is perfectly adequate for your CV and think about a professional looking font, this is not the time for Comic Sans.

Headings and subheadings make your CV look more polished and ensuring you stick to the same fonts, typography and structure throughout will ensure your CV is looking Elite.

The CV work summary

The CV work summary is a core part of your CV. It tells us what you’re capable of and highlights your skills. I love a chunky work summary because it gives me so much insight into who you are.

Chronological order of your job history is important as this helps us understand how long you were with an employer for and where you may have progressed within the company. I would start with the name of the employer, job title, dates of employment and potentially reason for leaving.

Being transparent about your reason for leaving a company will help with those awkward questions at the interview stage but it will also show that you are honest and accountable. If there is a gap in your employment fear not!

You will not automatically be excluded from a job if there are gaps, but it is certainly advised to explain what you did in that time, and be as honest as possible. Some people will have experienced a family bereavement, some will go travelling to gain some life experience and others will just take time out to focus on some family time.

When writing about your previous employer it is a good idea to outline your key achievements in the role and the duties you carried out. Bullet points instead of paragraphs are absolutely fine but make sure that throughout your CV they are the same size so it has a nice clean finish!

What about contact details?

I see oodles of CVs every week and it still amazes me that people apply for jobs and don’t share their contact details!

When you sign up for job boards you are encouraged to fill out your preferred number and email address but this does not automatically get placed on your CV.  Check they are on there and if you really want to impress, make them as part of the header or footer of every page. Home address and date of birth is personal preference and please be reassured that any information that is received on a CV is treated with utmost confidentiality and data security.

If you are applying for creative positions I would suggest including a link to some of your work.  When we have worked on marketing and content roles we find that having links to work gives us an holistic understanding of their skills and is always an added bonus.

A link to your LinkedIn profile is a plus if you keep it up to date. If  colleagues and employers have endorsed your skills or written recommendations on your profile show them off! Invite the employer to look on your profile and let other people all sell your skills and expertise.

How do I show off technical skills?

If you are in a technical field or you have experience using multiple software’s it could be a good idea to list the software you have used. Our IT candidates list the software’s, networks and other technical skills they have experience in and this helps us understand their range of experience.

Employers will include an assessment of these skills during interviews so please make sure you are confident about what you list on your CV.

If you have developed a particular code or API that improved performance for example, then add that as well!

If you are from an administration or customer service background you can still add this into your CV but remember it’s not essential.

How much do they want to know about education and training?

It is important to outline your educational background. We would recommend going back as far as GCSE grades and be accurate!

In the more regulated industries some companies still have a 5 A* – C or equivalent GCSE policy that they adhere to no matter what level position you are applying for. There is no harm in listing any certified training you have done that is job related or not.

Even showing that you are registered first aider helps the recruiter build a bigger picture of the CV they are reading.

Hobbies and interests on a CV

On a CV an employer wants to see if you have the right skills for the job in order to shortlist you for an interview.

Another key thing they will be looking for is whether your personality will compliment the current team. By outlining your interests and hobbies it adds more personality to your CV and gives you something else to talk about in an interview. These can be outlined at the end in either bullet point format or sentences and I would suggest adding this to your CV if you haven’t already.

In conclusion

Your CV is the first impression you give the employer. It is your opportunity to show them who you are what you are capable of.

If you’re getting ready to apply for a new role, don’t forget to;

  • Shout about your achievements!
  • Write a professional summary and tailor the buzzwords to the role
  • Be honest about gaps in employment and reasons for leaving jobs
  • Share your key skills
  • Include your contact details
  • List your technical knowledge and skills (and be able to perform)
  • Give them an idea of who you are as a person

Elite are experts at CVs so if you need some guidance to shine up your CV, we’re here to help you.