How to Write a CV
Each year, thousands of supposedly high achievers are left wondering why they didn't get the job. The problem often lies with the way they have written their CV.
While professional and academic achievements can never be discounted, unless you write a CV that conveys these achievements clearly, in a well organised CV template that will appeal to recruiters, your efforts are unlikely to be successful.
Tailor your CV to the job opportunity
You should always customize your CV for the position and try to convey your background and skills in a way that will be most relevant to the employer. To do this, read and re-read the job advertisement, research the company and its industry thoroughly and find out about its priorities and hiring practices. Spending time on the company website before you write your CV is a great way to make your application more relevant. If you do your homework in advance, when it comes time to write a CV that is tailored to the specific opportunity you will be able to incorporate your knowledge of these key elements as you present your experience.
Focus on your skills and achievements
When you sit down to write a CV, you are, in effect, writing an advertisement for yourself. This is your best chance to present your achievements and skills in the most favourable light possible, highlighting to recruiters what makes you stand out from the rest. It's impossible to write a CV that's truly persuasive without having a clear picture in your mind of your skills and key accomplishments. Think about all your past activities: academic projects and degrees, part/full-time work experience, voluntary work, and even social and personal experiences.
To write a CV that gets the attention of your target audience, you must focus on your achievements and present them in a dynamic, quantifiable way. For instance, here are two CV statements written correctly; notice the action verbs and specific accomplishments:
“As a summer volunteer with the Youth Advocacy Service, I interacted with eight pre-school children on a daily basis, providing meals, supervision and companionship.”
“I created and implemented the unique 'Partner Plus' program, which resulted in an 18% increase in sales within three months.”
As you can see, it is important to give your potential employer a sense of what you've actually accomplished. Grades, awards and certificates, where relevant, can sometimes help to substantiate and strengthen your statements. But the spotlight should be on quantifiable achievements.
Include basic information
Of course, when you write a CV you must remember to include all the standard facts and sections that most recruiters will look for: personal details, contact information, career profile and objectives, skills and achievements, work experience, and education. Omitting any of these elements could create uncertainty in the recruiter or even cost you the job.
Set the right tone When you write a CV, it's important to pay attention to the language you use.
• Include decisive action verbs like 'initiated', 'negotiated', 'managed', and 'created' wherever possible.
• If your CV relies on words like 'always' 'never' and 'best', recruiters may see this as a tendency to exaggerate or boast.
• Instead of 'problem', use 'challenge' - it's more positive.
• Don't write a CV that is overloaded with lengthy phrases or sentences. It's better to keep things straightforward.
Proofread for mistakes
Remember that all the hard work involved in writing a CV can be quickly undone by careless and avoidable spelling or grammar mistakes. So, after you write a CV, always spell check and proofread your work multiple times and ask friends, family members, or colleagues to review it as well.
Use a standard CV template
If you are posting an online CV then be careful not to use a fancy or overly complex CV format – it is likely to be taken apart and re-organised by modern recruiter software. Use a clear CV template which will be easy to interpret by a human or a computer.
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