Writing a CV can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are starting from scratch. At Cooper Lomaz we see thousands of CV’s every month, and know what stands out, so we’ve written this handy guide to take the stress out of creating yourself a great CV!
There is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all solution for the perfect CV, but by sticking to the following, you’ll have a CV that covers all of the essential points, reads well and comfortably gets through any initial automated screening software, which is starting to become more common.
Here’s what you need to have on your CV:
The amount of CV’s we get that look great, but don’t have contact details on to get in touch with you is astounding! Whilst it seems obvious, don’t forget to put your name, phone number, email address and a location on your CV. Many people are reluctant to put their full address on their CV nowadays, and this is fine not to have, but make sure you’ve at least put the City or County you are based in. The personal details should be at the very top of your CV.
A great personal statement is your chance to impress the reader. Get this right, and you are almost guaranteed to move to the next step I the process. The personal statement should be tailored to the role you are applying for, and outline (succinctly) why you are a good fit for the role. This personal statement should be no longer than one long paragraph, or two shorter ones.
This is particularly important for technical and professional roles. This should be a brief list of relevant, recent skills you have which are applicable for the role you are applying for. Nobody needs to know what you once used a particular package in 2003, or used to know how to run payroll a decade ago. They want to know what your main strengths are. Key skills look best when listed in bullets, either on their own, or with a very brief description alongside it.
Career History / Work Experience
This section should include all your relevant work experience, starting with the most recent role at the top!
You should include the following information about each role:
- Employment Dates
- Job Title
- Key Accountability (a short paragraph detailing the key element of your role)
- 3-5 key responsibilities (bullet points)
- 1-2 key achievements (bullet points)
If you have held many roles over a prolonged period, then you can reduce the amount of information for roles which were over 10 years ago.
Education / Qualifications
The Education section of your CV should outline what you studied, when and what grade you obtained. If you are a recent Graduate, you’ll want to add more detail about what you studied, and potentially break-down into individual components and grades.
Hobbies & Interests
Putting Hobbies & Interests on a CV is frequently debated in recruitment. If you have a common hobby or interest with the hiring manager, it can spark a conversation and give you an advantage – that’s why we recommend having Hobbies and Interests on your CV. Our advice would be keep them brief, and don’t list anything which could be contentious.
Sticking to the above format will give you a CV which flows nicely and reads well. One questions we get asked a lot by candidates is ‘how long should my CV be?’
Our advice on this depends on your career level and employment history. If you are a recent Graduate, 1 page will likely suffice. If you are an experienced professional, 2-3 pages is ideal. We tend to find that CV’s that exceed 3 pages are not as well received by potential employers. If you are looking for a new role, and want some expert advice on how to make your CV stand out for a particular role, then get in touch with our team on 01603766760