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5 Great Tips for Writing a Successful CV

One of the most common complaints I hear from people is that they’ve made lots of applications but not heard back from the CVs they’ve sent. When I conduct a CV Review these are the top 10 tips I give:

Tips for Writing a CV

cv writing tips

Your Profile

Does your personal profile start with ‘I am a hardworking, reliable individual, able to work as part of a team and on my own..’? If so then change it - Now! About 95% of the CVs I review start with this or something similar. Tailor your profile for the job you want. For example if you’re applying for a retail role start it with “I am an enthusiastic, self starter with over 2years direct retail experience..”

Be specific to what the employer is advertising.

Related: 10 Helpful Tips to Improve Your CV for a Better Job Application

Your Key Skills

Most clients miss this section of their CV but I think it’s really important to highlight your main achievements and again – make them specific for the role you’re applying for. Steer away from soft skills such as ‘Excellent Communication Skills’ and ‘Good I.T. Skills’. Specify your qualities- for example ‘Successfully liaised with department management and colleagues to achieve business objectives’ and ‘Extensive Database Experience including Excel and working with formulae’.
Check through the job description and on the company website to give you ideas and make sure you’re using the company language.

Employment History

If you have an extensive backlog of 20years plus of experience I recommend scaling it back and highlighting the key roles that match the job specification – use bullet points to detail your achievements and again focus on the specific details of your employment that the employer will be looking for. For example, if they ask for project management experience, bullet point the projects you’ve managed, detailing what was needed, what you did and what the outcome was.

If you’re experience is lacking, focus on additional experience you’ve achieved and your transferable skills – work placements, community work and additional training you’ve undertaken all demonstrate that you’re reliable and willing to undertake opportunities.

Education & Training

Remember to put this in chronological order – if you have no formal training but have undertaken a lot of in-work development, make sure you include this. Even just a heading stating ‘In Work Training’ or ‘Professional Development’ will make you stand out and demonstrate your willingness to develop with an employer.

Additional Information

Here’s your opportunity to provide information on anything extra that the employer might be looking for. This could be any team work, voluntary work or additional experience you’ve undertaken that are relevant to the role. I highly recommend making sure you include this instead of a ‘Hobbies and Interest’ section – Employers aren’t interested in the fact you like to read and take the dog out for a walk over the evening! It’s also a great place to explain any gaps in your employment history and put a positive spin on this. For example, if you’ve been out of work due to health reasons you can write something like ‘Following a career break to manage a health condition, I can now confidently say I am ready to return to work force and feel I have a lot of offer my next employer.’ It doesn’t need to be any more complex than that.

Related: How to Write a Winning CV

And one last thing

Spelling and grammar! Always, always proof read your CV before sending to an employer – or better yet ask a friend or family member to do this for you!

Above all, the advice I give clients is to make sure your CV is an ever-changing document. Every job you apply for will have a different job specification and key words in the advertisement and this is where your CV needs to take its lead from. If you’re not hearing back from employers – Change your CV!

photo by:molly dodge

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