A step-by-step guide to writing a CV
In this next section, I want to provide you with a simple to follow, step-by-step guide to wring an effective CV. The steps that follow will incorporate all that I have explained so far within this guide. Let’s get started:
The first stage is to identify which job you want to apply for. Most people will create a CV based around themselves before looking for a job to apply for. This is one of the main reasons for failure. In order to create an effective CV you first of all need to know what job you wish to get! Most employers will advertise vacancies online, although some will still use local newspapers as a source to attract potential applicants.
Once you have identified the job/jobs that you want to apply for you should collect the person specification and job description for each post that you wish to apply for. This may simply mean copying the job description from the online advert. Here is an example of a recent job advert that is in the customer service industry:
Once you have obtained a copy of the person specification/job description I recommend you use a highlight pen to go through the documents and collate a list of the main skills and keywords/phrases that make up the CV. Whilst some of the attributes will be assessed at interview it is your job to provide as much evidence as possible within your CV to demonstrate you have the potential to carry out the job. If you do this, you will get an interview! The following list of skills and keywords/phrases have been extracted from the above job description/person specification.
- Interact and deal with customers
- Respond to queries
- Resolve customer complaints
- Processing orders
- Maintain accurate records
- Maintain customer databases
- Good communication skills
- Problem solving abilities
- Attention to detail
- Stress tolerance
Once you have created your list of skills and keywords/phrases taken from the person specification/job description you should then create your personal profile using as many of the keywords and phrases as possible. Here’s an example of a personal profile based on the above list.
“I am a highly professional and adaptable person who has an excellent approach to work. Having worked in a customer focused environment I am able to interact and deal with customers in a highly proficient manner. I have extensive experience in dealing with customer complaints and pride myself on my excellent communication skills. I can work effectively in highly stressful environments and my attention to detail is excellent. Finally, I am competent at processing customer orders and maintaining customer databases.”
You will notice that the above personal profile is deliberately suited to the job the person is applying for. When the assessor/employer reads this CV he or she will soon realise that this person has many of the key skills and attributes required for the job.
The final step is to incorporate the personal profile into you CV and also build your previous experiences and employment positions around the skills and experiences required for the post. You will see that the following simple CV does this effectively. Although the CV is only two pages of A4 in length it is highly relevant to the post being advertised.
Once you have completed your CV make sure you check it for errors. There is nothing worse than receiving a V from a job applicant which is strewn with spelling mistakes. In order to achieve this it may be worth while giving your CV to a friend or relative so they can give it a good check over for you. If you do this, make sure the person helping you out can spell themselves!
The final step is to send off your CV with a covering letter or note. The vast majority of CV’s are now submitted online or via email. Here is an example of a good covering note to send with a CV that is submitted by email:
You will note that in the covering letter I have included a contact telephone number. Whilst not essential this demonstrates my level of keenness to be invited to interview. When signing off a letter or email then follow this rule for the use of ‘sincerely’ and ‘faithfully’: If you know their name, use sincerely. If you don’t know their name, use faithfully. Dear Mr Smith = Yours sincerely Dear Sir = Yours faithfully