How to write a good CV

Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Terry BrameNo comments

How do we define a “good CV”? 

In our experience, a good CV is pleasing to look at, easy to read, and contains all the information necessary to know whether or not the person represented by said CV can do the job in an effective and efficient manner.  A good CV should look professional and reflect the abilities of the person it is meant to represent without a lot of fluff in between the lines.

Knowing how to write a good CV could quite possibly be one of the most valuable business skills you can ever learn.  Hardly anyone stays in the same job for years and years and years, we are constantly looking for new challenges, more money, and more satisfaction, so having the skill of knowing how to write a good CV is something that you will always have.  It can mean the difference between getting an interview and not getting an interview.

A good CV will include only pertinent information about you – the job applicant.  It is written in a professional and positive manner focusing on abilities, skills, and talents that can benefit your future employer.  Of course, that can be a little difficult to do on paper, but not when you know what words to use.  A thesaurus can be a life saver here when you are looking for the right words.

Never, ever, make any job sound like it is a mundane, boring position.  It doesn’t matter if you spent a few months one summer standing behind the counter at your local Coffee Shop, you can still focus on the positive aspects of that job.  For example, when you make the coffee, you are responsible for quality control.  When you give it to the customer, you are insuring good customer service.  When you ring it up on the cash register, you are responsible for cash flow!

We aren’t advocating over-selling yourself here but don’t under-sell yourself either.

Try to keep your CV ‘CONCISE’. This doesn’t mean you can’t include detail but you must try and reduce the number of redundant words and wasted information.

Let’s look at an example:

 “When I worked for Anne Jagger Recruitment in Kings Cross, my duties included office management and administration, as well some accounting tasks such as payment of invoices and management of the petty cash. I felt I was an asset to the team and got on well with everybody.”

There’s nearly 50 words there, most of which we could lose without changingthe sense or importance of what is being said.

Look at this:

Employer – Anne Jagger Recruitment, London

Job Title: Office Manager

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • General Administration.
  • Accounts, including invoice payment.
  • Petty Cash.

That’s 20 words, and it’s all the person reading your CV wants to see at this stage.

All the stuff about being an asset and getting on well with everyone is totally wasted at this stage – save something for the interview!

Also, it’s worth pointing out that, in this example, if the applicant was applying for an Accounts role, it would be sensible to prioritise the accounting duties over the admin ones.

Don’t be afraid to emphasise the parts of your experience and achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for – it could make the difference between success and failure.

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