A good CV is essential to finding a job, but what’s a good CV?
My aim here is to give you practical* advice on your CV that will help you to secure your dream job. There are lots of guides out there and templates that you can also look at. What I hope you’ll find here is a really simple set of guidelines that will help you to create a CV that will enable you to get the interview and then the job.
- The golden rule is that your CV should be no longer than two pages. If you’ve got tons of experience then tailor your CV to the job/industry/profession that you’re applying to. If you haven’t got tons of experience then there’s nothing wrong with a page. Don’t “pad” it out.
- The 30 second rule. Start at the beginning and give yourself 30 seconds to read your CV. What have you learned?
- Do you have a mission statement/personal profile at the beginning of your CV? If you don’t, you need to write one. This should be no more than a couple lines and should be a summary of your skills and brief information about what you want to next.
- Structure: If you’re a recent graduate or have less than three years of experience EDUCATION should come first. Otherwise it should be EXPERIENCE first.
- Bullet points: don’t write paragraphs about what you did at each job. Use up to five bullet points which should be a mixture of responsibilities and achievements.
- Key skills/expertise: Are you proficient with MS Office? Do you know what CRM is? Make sure you list them.
- Interests and hobbies: please include this section, but make sure it’s no longer than a couple of lines long.
- Format and style: keep it simple. There’s no need for fancy fonts, interesting colours and design elements. You’re not a designer**. It should be really easy to read.
- You don’t need to supply your full address (town and city or region will do).
- No photograph needed
- You don’t need to write your date of birth or gender
- Make sure there’s a phone number and email address
- If you have a LinkedIn profile, then supply a link
* We’re recruiters who spend a huge amount of time looking at people’s CVs and try to help people find the job that they want. Many candidates fail at the first hurdle because their CV doesn’t do them justice. This is my own personal view of what I think a CV should be.
**If you’re designer then there’ll be a post soon talking about CVs and portfolios.