During this article I am going to provide you with some fantastic tips on how to write a great CV. Many job-seekers believe they have to write 4-5 pages of content for their CV to be effective; this simply is not true, and they don’t have the skills for CV writing. Before you sit down to write your CV I recommend that you take a few moments to think about what a potential employer would want from a CV after they have advertised a post. Here’s the answer:
They would want the CV to be concise, well-written and structured, easy to read, neat, professional and relevant to the job that has been advertised.
Read on to learn some important tips on how to write a CV that is guaranteed to get your short-listed for interview.
The word Curriculum Vitae translated means the ‘course of life’. CV’s are used to demonstrate to an employer that you have the potential, the skills, and the experience to carry out the role you are applying for. Your CV is a very important document and you should spend sufficient time designing it so that it matches the job that you are applying as closely as possible.
How To Write A Great CV
In simple terms, an effective CV is one that matches the specification and the requirements of the job you are applying for. The Uk Government provides lots of free advice on how to write a great CV HERE.
Your CV should be used as a tool to assist you during the initial stages of a job selection process and it should be centred on the following areas:
- Creating the right impression of yourself;
- Indicating that you possess the right qualities and attributes to perform the role of the job you are applying for;
- Grabbing the assessor’s attention;
- Being concise and clear.
The most effective type of CV design is one that make the assessor’s job easy. They are simple to read, to the point, relevant and focus on the job/role that you are applying for. CV’s should not be overly long unless an employer specifically asks for this. The skills for CV writing can be obtained relatively quickly with a little bit of time, effort and focus. So, before you learn how to write a great CV, check out the following:
Before you begin to start work on your CV design, it is a good idea to have a basic idea of how a job/person specification is constructed. A job description/person specification is basically a blueprint for the role you are applying for; it sets out what the employer expects from potential applicants. One of your main focus points during the construction of your CV will be to match the job/person specification. Most job/person specifications will include the following areas:
EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: previous jobs, unpaid work experience, life experience, skills, knowledge and abilities: for example, languages, driving, knowledge of specialist fields, ability to use equipment, plus some indication of the level of competence required, and whether the person must have the skills or knowledge beforehand or can learn them on the job.
QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: exams, certificates, degrees, diplomas (some jobs require specific qualifications, but most do not and it can be fairer to ask for the skills or knowledge represented by the qualification rather than asking for the qualification itself).
PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES REQUIRED: such as strength, ability to lift, willingness to work in a hectic busy environment or on one’s own.
PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES: such as being able to work weekends or evenings or even to travel.
Most job/person specifications will be based around a task analysis of the vacancy, so there should be nothing within the job description/person specification that is irrelevant or that does not concern the particular role you are applying for. Whatever requirements you are asked to meet, you should try hard to match them as closely as possible, providing evidence if possible of your previous experience.
What is the employer looking for in your CV?
As previously stated you should ensure that you make the recruitment advisor’s job as simple as possible. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the assessor. How would you want an applicants CV to look? You would want it to be relevant to role they are applying for and you would want it to be neat, concise and well organised.
For the majority of jobs there will be job specification or person specification. You need to spend some time thinking about the type of person they are looking for and how you can match the specification that is relevant to the job you want. Most job specifications will list the essential/desirable requirements in terms of education, qualifications, training, experience, skills, personality and any other special requirements.
As an example, let’s take a look at some of the skills and qualifications required to become a Physical Training Instructor.
- You will need 2 GCSEs/SCEs or equivalent, in the subjects of English language at Grade C/3 minimum and in Mathematics at Grade G/6 minimum.
- You will need to have a good standard of fitness in a number of sports and have the ability to swim.
- You will be assessed via a specialist interview and be required to undertake additional tests.
- Physical Training Instructors are responsible for organising and arranging physical fitness training programmes for all members of the gym. Therefore a good standard of physical fitness and organisational skills are required. In addition to being physically fit you must also possess good motivational skills, and be capable of managing and arranging adventure activities, managing sporting facilities, organising and conducting instructional classes, performing fitness tests, arranging and holding sports counselling sessions.
You will see from the above details that some of the key elements of the role include suitable levels of physical fitness, good organisational skills, motivational skills and the ability to manage people and resources. Once you have the above information then you will be able to mould your CV around the key aspects of the job.
Let us now take a look at some of the key elements of a CV. By reading and understanding these you will know how to write a great CV.
The key elements of a CV
The following is a list of information I recommend you include within your CV. Try to put them in this order and remember to be brief and to the point. Make sure you include and highlight the positive aspects of your experience and achievements.
- Your personal details
- Your profile
- Your employment history
- Your academic achievements
- Your interests
- Any other information
- Your references
Let’s now take a look at each of the above sections and what you need to include.
YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS
When completing this section you should include the following details:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Contact telephone numbers including home and mobile
- Email address
To begin with try to write a brief but to the point statement about yourself, making sure you include the keywords that best describe your character. Some effective words to use when describing yourself might include:
“Ambitious, enthusiastic, motivated, caring, trustworthy, meticulous, sense of humour, drive, character, determination, will to succeed, passionate, loyal, teamwork, hard working.”
The above words are all powerful and positive aspects of an individual’s character. Try to think of your own character and what positive words you can use that best describe you.
Within your profile description, try to include a statement that is relative to you, and that will make the assessor think you are the right person for the job, such as:
“I am an extremely fit and active person who has a great deal of experience in this field and I have a track record of high achievement. I have very good organisational and motivational skills and I am always striving to improve myself. I believe that I would embrace the challenges that this new role has to offer.”
YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
When completing this section try to ensure that it is completed in reverse chronological order. Provide the reader with dates, locations and employers, and remember to include your job title. Give a brief description of your main achievements and try, again, to include words of a positive nature, such as:
“Achieved, developed, progressed, managed, created, succeeded, devised, drove, expanded, directed.”
It is also a good idea to quantify your main achievements, such as:
“During my time with this employer I was responsible for motivating my team and organising different activities.”
YOUR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
When completing this section include the dates, names and locations of the schools, colleges or universities that you attended in chronological order. You should also include your qualifications and any other relevant achievements such as health and safety qualifications or first aid qualifications. Anything that is relevant to the role you’re applying for would be an advantage.
Within this section try to include interests that match the requirements of the job and ones that also portray you in a positive manner. Maybe you have worked within the voluntary sector or have even carried out some charity work in the past? If so try to include these in your CV as they show you have a caring and concerning nature. You may also play sports or keep fit, in which case you should include these too. If you have any evidence of where you have worked effectively as part of a team then include these also.
ANY OTHER INFORMATION
Within this section of your CV you can include any other information that is relevant to your skills or experiences that you may feel are of benefit. Examples of these could certificates of achievement from work or school.
Although you will normally be required to provide two references as part of you application for joining any organisation, it is good practice to include these at the end of your CV. Try to include your current or previous employer, providing you know that they are going to write positive things about you. Be careful who you choose as a reference and make sure you seek their permission first prior to putting down their name and contact details. It may also be a good idea to ask them if you can have a copy of what they have written about you for reference later.
Good luck with your job application!