CV Writing Tips & Techniques
Keep your CV simple, concise and easy to read. Remember that your CV must be tailored to what the recruiter is looking for.
Your CV must be presented professionally, clearly and in a way that indicates you are an ideal candidate for the role – recruiters will be looking at your skills, experience, behaviours and attitude.
Imagine what the job you are applying for requires, and how best your skills match up with the requirements.
Your CV should be no more than two pages long and have line spaces between each section. Usually 1 line space between each section works well.
Print your CV on plain white A4 paper. The font should remain consistent throughout with bold/larger font sizes for headings. Photographs on a CV are not generally advisable!
Check – and double check – your final CV for spelling and grammar mistakes. You can use a computer spelling and grammar check, but also give it to someone else to proofread it.
Particular CV styles can help to highlight relevant strengths depending on your experiences to date.
Chronological CV – This format is the most common. It outlines your experiences from your first job to your latest. If you have a small amount of experience, putting the education section before the work history is advisable. This format may not be as suitable if you have changed roles frequently or are looking to change your career.
Skills based CV/functional CV – This format focuses on demonstrating the relevant skills you have to offer and the evidence of where you acquired them. Education and work experience descriptions are kept brief. It is best used if you are trying to change career or if you have changed roles frequently.
Academic CV – More emphasis in this CV is upon knowledge and academic achievements. This format is used most commonly by students and graduates.
A CV will typically have the following sections:
- Personal details – name, address, contact numbers and email.
- Profile – no more than a few sentences outlining your strengths within a workplace environment. Ensure these are a close match to the role(s) you are applying for.
- Career history – ensure the same format is used throughout your CV. For example job title, company, dates employed. Bullet points are advisable to keep your CV clear and easy to read.
- Key skills – again to try ensure these are a close match to the role(s) you are applying for. Consider your recent work experience/academia and the skills you have gained.
- Education and/or training – If you have work experience in the relevant field, your school education can be listed and be brief. It is important the industry related qualifications are given more detail. If you have little work experience it is important for you to give details of grades gained to support your application.
- Personal interests – Be selective in this area and consider the role(s) you are applying for. For example an interest in team sports such as football or netball evidences your capability to work in a team. Resist putting any interests that can lead to an instant judgement – for example enjoying time in the pub!
Remember that employers are reading CVs in order to seek out your skills and abilities such as your willingness to learn, reliability, self-motivation, communication skills, flexibility and organisational skills.