BLOG: How to write a 'hell yeah' CV!

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Your CV is the first chance to make a good impression on a potential employer. Having a top-quality CV will considerably boost your chance of getting a face-to-face interview, so it is worth spending time and effort on its content and presentation. Before sitting down to write your CV there are a few things that you need to do...

Research the role you want – You cannot simply rely on first person accounts or one website's description. You need to compare and contract how that role is perceived at different companies, the scope of work, the challenges faced and what type of characteristics help a candidate do well. The more you understand about the nature of the role you want, the more you can tailor your CV to fit this. The CV you write for a Sales Executive would be different to the CV you write for a Junior Accountant position. 

Update and complete your CV – A rushed CV will not entice companies to come knocking. Make sure you always include the last position you have worked in and include a profile, education breakdown, skills, work experience and personal interests. Referrals are optional but typically encouraged as they give the right impression of reliability.

Target the company you want to apply for – It may seem a good idea to write a generic CV but realistically you want to have the best chance of landing your ideal job. If you want to work within finance, mention all of your passions and interests in finance. However, if you are not sure what type of role is right for you then a one-size-fits-all CV could be the best route.

 

Structure

Introduction
GRAB THE READER’S ATTENTION – People scrolling through CVs see ‘hardworking, enthusiastic professional’ on every single introduction. This is your chance to be creative and stand out; make it personal, punchy and make them want to read more!

Education
Give a succinct coverage of your academic achievements. Whatever level of education you have reached it is an achievement and should be celebrated, so include it. Add the years and locations of where and when you studied as well (it looks a little odd when this is left out!). Dissertations are often fascinating and reveal a lot about you so include a couple of lines on the topic and results of your work.

Work experience
No matter what you have done, where or how long for, there will be positive qualities and experiences gained from that experience. Give the dates, locations, nature of your work and highlights of  your duties. The more material you add the more seriously you seem to be taking the role. If you have worked in 10 jobs then add more detail to the ones specific to the jobs you are interested in. If you have never worked before then highlight any internships, voluntary work, part time or holiday work etc.

Key Skills
If you want to work in an office then mention your Microsoft and database skills. If you want to work in sales then refer to your strengths in presentations and perseverance. If you want to work in IT then list any areas of technical expertise such as Java or 1st line support. No matter what the job is there are key skills that employers are looking for and if they see them listed on your CV they will automatically feel more assured that you are right for them. If in doubt, see what skills are listed on the job specification you are interested in and list the ones relevant to you.

Interests and hobbies
There is debate among employers as to whether or not this section is necessary. On the one hand it is an opportunity to show creativity, individuality and gives great material for small talk to ease candidates into interviews and find common ground with the interviewer. On the other hand, it may seem unprofessional - too much individuality can be a bad thing. It depends on the type of environment you are applying for. If you are applying for a more corporate or traditional company then leave this out, otherwise include your interests and help any organisation see you as a person rather than just an employee.   

Good luck!