Job boards, recruiters and employers are flooded with CV’s everyday by those seeking their next role. Your experience and achievements are going to be the most important thing to any employer but how your CV is presented is going to have a big impact on how that information is retrieved.
Using our experience in permanent hires, executive search, senior interims and specialist contractor resources to the Public Sector and the Housing Market, we have provided a checklist on writing an effective CV.
1. Keep it simple
First, let’s start with the format of your CV. The most basic CV formatting can be the most attractive. If your CV is formed of several separate boxes, it can be confusing and hard to follow. You don’t need to use a fancy CV formatter, just go onto Microsoft Word and create a document that includes the following sections:
- Personal/Contact information
- Relevant Skills/Key achievements
- Work history/experience
- Own interests
I see these sections presented in a variety of different orders. Personally, I find that when a CV is ordered in the way I’ve outlined above it grabs my attention the most. Ultimately, as a recruiter I am looking for someone with the skills and achievements that a client has briefed me on. So, if these are outlined in the first section that I look at, I’m immediately convinced that this profile might be right. Of course, these points should be expanded within the relevant roles within the ‘Work History’ section but including things such as ‘Ofsted turnaround’ in your ‘Key Achievements’ will catch any recruiter in my sectors eye (Just make sure that you actually have been responsible for the Ofsted turnaround!).
2. Don't make it too long
I know that many of those that we work with have extensive experience, particularly those who work in an interim market so have undertaken many different roles. With this in mind, try to find that right balance of keeping your CV concise but also make sure that you summarise all of your key responsibilities and achievements from each role and not "sell yourself short". In order to do this, make sure that you do not list every single responsibility you have had in each role but highlight the most significant/most relevant for the next opportunity you are seeking.
3. Reverse Chronological Order
Be sure to put your work history in reverse chronological order. The most important roles to a recruiter or employer are likely to your most recent, so make sure they’re the first to be seen.
4. Accuracy and Proof Reading
There’s two separate points here. Firstly, is the accuracy and by this I am referring to the dates on your CV. It’s easy to get dates slightly wrong, especially if you’ve been in an interim role and gone from role to role quite quickly. However, it’s important that you get these right as whilst the significance may seem small, if later down the line references don’t add up with your CV it can cause questions to be asked by employers.
Proof reading speaks for itself – it doesn’t take long but can have a huge impact.
5. Be proud and highlight your achievements
This is just reinforcing a point I made earlier on. Not only should you be proud of all your achievements, but your achievements are the main thing that most recruiters and employers are looking for. This can be anything from achieving a NVQ L5 in Leadership and Management to turning around a children’s home from Inadequate to Good. Include everything, just make sure they’re relevant.
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