CV Writing Tips
We suggest that the most successful type of CV for our clients is an achievement based reverse chronological order CV. This is purposefully results orientated to demonstrate how you have added real value to organisations in the past, and therefore how you could benefit a potential employer now.
We suggest the format should be as follows:
BASIC CONTACT INFORMATION (NAME, ADDRESS, EMAIL ADDRESS, CONTACT PHONE NUMBERS).
All contact information should be included. Avoid irrelevant information and check numbers are correct!
PROFILE / KEY SKILLS.
This should be a general summary of your background and the kind of role you are seeking. Try to keep generic “generalisations” to the absolute minimum. E.g. avoid too many “enthusiastic, team player, target-driven”. Be SPECIFIC. The summary should be no longer than a short paragraph.
REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL (I.E. LAST JOB FIRST!) EMPLOYMENT HISTORY EMPHASISING RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS.
- Dates, Company Name and Job Title should all be clear, against each employer/job.
- We suggest that Overall Annual Spend should be given.
- We suggest that you list number of Direct Reports, if applicable.
- The Scope of the role should be listed (i.e. what you did).
- The Categories and/or Commodities you were involved in should be listed.
- Your Achievements should be listed, to include spend and savings e.g. “Saved £3m on £12m spend over 3 years through RFP & commercial negotiation on IT technology for the Group.”
EDUCATION (Recent graduates may put this at the top).
List all secondary and further education and qualification achieved. Dates are useful to put the rest of the CV in context.
Any relevant additional training should be listed.
- Most CV’s are now held electronically so it is best to save in a standard Microsoft compatible format that is easily distributable. If you are using agencies this will be particularly important as they will need to remove/edit details of your CV.
- Use A4 portrait style, plain white paper and black ink.
- Use a clear un-stylised font, ideally 10/12 point e.g. Arial, Times New Roman.
- Make headings bold and use space to break up the page.
- Do not use clip art or similar.
- Keep the presentation clear and simple and aim for a smart, professional look written in a professional, commercially aware style.
FURTHER DETAILS ON CONTENT
- Typically length should be between two and three pages. More than 3 pages will put the reader off! Include more detail in your more recent roles as obviously your older roles are going to be of less interest to prospective employers.
- Use dates to show when you did things and avoid vague references such as "a year at". Ideally use months as well as years for start and end dates for previous positions etc.
- If there are gaps in your career explain these gaps. E.g. ‘Full time education doing an MSC in’.
- Avoid using personal pronouns such as "me" or "I".
- Eliminate personal information that is not relevant to your career. Children's names, marital status, etc., are not required at this stage.
- Don't go into great detail on hobbies and personal interests unless they are relevant to your job.
- Focus on your strengths and underplay your weaknesses.
- Ensure sentences are no longer than about 15 words.
- Keep paragraphs under five lines long. Use bullet points sparingly instead.
- Make sure you spell check and proof read your CV before submitting and be especially careful with names, etc., that will not be in a spellchecker. Keep your CV up to date, and remember to amend old positions when you update, e.g. change to past tense / giving leaving dates.
NOTE: It makes the reader feel immediately negative towards the CV if they are confronted by a full page of small, tightly spaced text.
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