There are many writing techniques as well as CV tips that you could use improve the presentation, content and layout of your curriculum vitae. On this page find useful CV writing hints and advice that will help to make your resume stand out from other competing applicants.
Remember your CV is a marketing tool so work hard to make it look good and professional. First of all choose the right structure and layout for your CV. Make sure that the most important information is at the top or in prominent positions where it can be seen straightaway.
Targeting your CV
Try to write each CV specifically for each role you are applying for, if you have one CV template then change it so that it relates more to the specific job your after. This may require you to research the job role itself to find out what your duties would be and then mention and highlight similar work you have done in your career. This will take more time, but it will be well worth the effort. Make sure you:-
- List your employment in date order, with the most recent first.
- Have plenty of white space in it so it appears uncluttered.
- Try to keep sentences short.
- Avoid leaving any gaps in your career.
- Include statistics and facts that prove your abilities.
- Try to make in interesting to read.
Always have your completed resume proof read by a competent friend or work colleague. This way you more effectively detect and correct any production or typographical errors. You can also proof read it yourself, below are some tips on doing this:
- Read it out aloud.
- Read it but use a a blank sheet of paper to screen and cover the material not yet proofed.
- Use your finger to point at each word that you read.
- Do not proofread when you are tired or late at night, do it when you are wide awake and alert.
- Always proofread the CV twice.
Read the job description and make a list of skills and abilities that the recruiter is looking for. Now go through your career history and make a list of those relevant skills, knowledge and experience that matches the recruiters requirements. Show off your knowledge, experience and abilities, and give examples of what you have achieved in your previous employment roles. Focus on your:
- Transferable skills.
- Communication abilities.
- Work experience.
- Academic qualifications
- Self confidence.
- Ability to adapt to a new working environment.
- Team Player.
- Success orientated.
Keep this short and captivating by trying to make it no longer than 400 words split into about three or four paragraphs. Aim to grab the hiring managers attention by giving a brief summary of why you feel you are suitable for the job, keep the whole profile simple and easy to read. Mention your past experience and your key skills and abilities that are relevant to the job being applied for.
Do not mention negative points or experiences. For instance there is no need for you to mention in your CV why you have lost your job in the past or if you have ever been disciplined. By that I don’t mean be dishonest and hide them, but do not make a point of highlighting them. Being positive also shows that you have a can do attitude.
It is advisable to attach a covering letter to your CV. Try to address the letter to the person who is advertising the vacancy, otherwise it can go to the wrong person and get binned. A well written cover letter can encourage hiring manager to spend more time reading your CV. Use it to sell yourself by:
- Demonstrating your communication skills.
- State your interests about the company and the job itself.
- Explain directly to the hiring manager why you are the best person for the job.
Never forget to mention in your profile or covering letter that you are punctual as well as have the ability to meet deadlines.
Try not to write in the first person
Avoid using phrases like ‘I did this’ or ‘I did that’. This sort of language may be OK in a social email or a networking site but in a CV it can diminish the quality of the document. It is always best to write your CV in the third person.
Get to the point
Never waffle with words and the text, always get to the point of what you are trying to say in each sentence. Keep sentences short and relevant. Remember the recruiter will have to go through many CV’s and will probably only have a few minutes to scan through yours.
Length of your CV
Try not to make it more that two pages long, although in rare cases and specialized professions you may get away with three pages.
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