How to write a CV
We all have different opinions when it comes to what the perfect CV should look like. However although CV writing is a controversial subject, professionals as a whole agree on some general guidelines to help your CV stick in the minds of recruiters. By following these rules and knowing the pitfalls to avoid, you stand a much better chance of reaching the next stage of the recruitment process, and ultimately securing your dream job.
How long should a CV be?
Recruiters don’t have time to wade through pages and pages of your CV, so it’s important to cut out the waffle and stick to the point. As a rule 2 pages is considered the maximum acceptable length, but if you’re fresh out of university and don’t have much experience 1 page is preferable.
Just as important as the length of your CV is the structure. At CV Knowhow we’ll break down the text with headings and bullet points. This is much less intimidating than a wall of text, and makes your CV more accessible and easy to read.
Only include the necessary details
A common mistake many applicants make is including too much detail in their CV. So for example, rather than including the exact start and end dates of previous roles, a professional CV simply includes the years. This helps your application as it can cover up any chronological gaps that could ring alarm bells for recruiters.
The general rule of thumb is to look at each element of your CV and ask whether it adds to your application, if it doesn’t then cut it out. Be ruthless, don’t include anything that recruiters could view in a negative light.
Although it’s important to include details of what you’ve done throughout your career, employers prefer to focus on recent history. So add the most weight to the last 5 years of your career, summarising any previous roles.
Interests and Activities
Although employers like to know you’ve got a life outside of the office, applicants often go into too much depth in this section of their CV. A basic overview is all employers need in order to see you’re a well-rounded person.
‘Key Skills’ Section
Around 10-20 years ago including a ‘Key Skills’ section in your CV was the accepted format. Today recruiters are shying away from this approach, preferring candidates to demonstrate these skills and abilities through their employment history. If you wish to mention any specific skills or abilities, the cover letter is the best place to discuss this.
Don’t include the details of your referees on your CV. Not only does this take up valuable space that can be used for something else, but your referees may receive unnecessary requests.
While it is possible to create a great CV yourself we believe there’s no substitute for professional preparation. At CV Knowhow you don’t just get a word document containing your professional CV, but the opportunity to speak to experts in your chosen field. As our consultants know your industry inside out they can carefully target your CV to the industry you’re applying for, maximising your chances of successfully securing an interview.