Chris Croft's Personal Blog

February 3, 2014

CV writing – my top tips

Filed under: Careers, Lists — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 9:25 pm

…and these are the same for on-line or paper CVs…

  1. No typos – use spell check and get a friend to check it
  2. Make it look clean and clear – all paragraphs lined up, with decent margins, easy on the eye, not jumbled, or you’ll look like a jumbled disorganised thinker.
  3. Don’t fold it – post it in an A4 envelope, on white paper, ideally 90gsm
  4. No quirks – the employer’s first step is to filter the CVs, so anything odd gets you binned, e.g. dates missing, odd spare time activities, pictures, attempts at humour, etc.  Have nothing that might get you filtered out.
  5. Don’t look high maintenance – no flowery language, criticism of previous employers, or anything too pushy
  6. Maximum 2 pages, ideally just one – otherwise they won’t read it and you’ll like someone who takes too long to get to the point
  7. Tailor it to the job – mention related experience and skills to whatever they have said they are looking for.  Mention something about the company to show that you have researched them and tailored it to them.  But…
  8. The upper middle of page 1 is the place the reader looks at most
  9. When listing experience and achievements put real facts (problems you solved, improvements you made) ideally with real numbers (increased sales by 17% in 2 years), rather than waffle.  “Committed’, “Hard working” “Team player” mean nothing without evidence.
  10. Don’t lie!  You will get found out at the interview, or when you’ve got the job – and both of these are disasters
  11. Put your age – if you omit it they’ll only imagine it’s worse than it is, and anyway they can work it out from your history – or if they’re ageist they’ll reject you when they meet you anyway.
  12. Interests and hobbies – don’t put reading or socialising.  But social, team and outdoor activities, just very briefly.
  • Send a tailored covering letter with the CV – and getting that right is a whole other subject…
  • Keep your CV up to date and ready at all times.  You never know what opportunities or disasters are just around the corner…
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