7 Tips to Write the Perfect CV
Securing your next role can be achieved through a number of steps, key to this is writing a great CV that demonstrates not only your skills and education to date but your ability to learn. Here are our top 7 tips to write your CV to help secure the interview.
Number of Pages
This one is open to individual preference and can vary from company to company and industry to industry. However, the general consensus from hiring managers seems to be that CV’s should ideally be 2-3 pages long. If your career has included a number of temporary or contract roles then perhaps longer but try not to duplicate too much if the roles are similar. If you have undertaken lots of training courses, consider having them on a separate page at the end and refer to within the CV (this helps to save space - and people can read it if they really want!)
Perhaps an obvious one but we still see CV’s that start with the oldest job first. In truth, the reader isn’t really concerned with what role you did straight from school. It’s more relevant to list the most recent roles at the top
How far should I go back?
If you have extensive experience and struggling to fit it on to 2-3 pages then consider listing the past 10 or so years and summarise the rest by just listing dates/company name/job title. Remember the purpose of the CV is to get you an interview, very rarely (if at all) will you be offered a role based just on your CV. If the hiring manager wants to know more about a specific role you have only summarised then the interview is the perfect opportunity for them to ask more questions
Should I include a Skills Profile?
In short yes, we’d strongly advise listing your skills and consider “categorising” them into soft skills, computer skills and clearly headed to make it easy for the reader to find a particular skill or system you have used.
Document format - Word vs PDF
Whilst PDF’s do look good and there are benefits in that they display very well across mobile devices, most recruitment companies will want to adjust your CV (remove contact details, put their logo/header on). Certain creative roles such as graphic Designers or Web Design lend themselves towards a more creative looking CV, if you do this it’s worth considering having a 2nd version with contact details removed as sending that in addition to your standard CV.
Consider your keywords
Put yourself in the shoes of the reader for a few moments and think what is it you would be looking to see on the CV if you were hiring for that role? Write a list of all the keyword and buzz words linked to either your role or the industry you work in. Once you have finished your CV it’s a good exercise to go back and use the “find” function (usually Ctrl+F or cmd+F on a Mac) to see how many times you have mentioned the phrases in your own CV. There is no exact recommended number as such but you want to have a minimum of 2-3 times per keyword (this could be listed in either the skills section mentioned above or within a specific role)
What about LinkedIn?
If you have a LinkedIn profile then make sure you check the dates match your CV, if they don’t match and a hiring manager looks at your CV and then LinkedIn, it can cause confusion. If you are lucky they will flag it up as a question to ask at interview, if they have lots of CV’s to review then you might not be so fortunate to get the opportunity to explain at interview.