CV Writing

What is a CV?

A CV is a sales document that’s purpose is to represent you in the best possible light in order to secure an interview.  It’s important to spell this out as too often we see CV’s that are factually correct but do not focus enough on the achievements of the individual and/or the skills needed for the job they are applying for.  It is very difficult to read your own CV from the perspective of another as the content is so personal to you, so get someone else to read it who understands what it is that you do, i.e. a colleague you trust, or a recruitment professional.

Try and think of your CV like the estate agent details on a property, it is imperative that these details are correct as anything incorrect will be discovered, but the positives must be able to come to the fore.

 

Dispelling Myths

The advice we were all given at school was that a CV should be no more than 2 pages long.  This was, and remains correct for any school leaver or graduate to this day, but when your career is longer, the CV needs to be as well, in order to accurately represent you to a potential employer.  This is especially the case with technical CV’s as the technology deployed at previous organisations will be important in quantifying your technical knowledge.  Word of warning though, there is a happy balance, and your CV should remain concise and to the point as this is a key trait that potential employers will be looking for.

 

CV Structure

This advice is for a technical CV for a position in the UK as cultural differences do change things in other countries.  For work overseas it is well worth researching the expected format of the country in question before applying.
 

Name:                     

Just your first name then last name.  If you are known by a different name put this in brackets after (no need to write CV or Résumé – people know what it is).

Personal Profile:

This is your opportunity right at the very top of your CV to spell out who you are (professionally) and what you are looking for.  This should be altered frequently for the position you are applying for to match your qualities against their particular position

Skills Summary:              

For technical CV’s this is vital and it backs up the section above.  Quantify your experience to allow someone to compare areas that that you regard as core skills and areas that you have lower level of knowledge.

Career History:

Starting with your most recent position first.  Remember that employers are interested in the outcome or impact of your actions, not just a list of the tasks themselves.  This section allows the hirer to quantify your technical experience outlined in the section above so make sure this is covered in the content here as well.  Quantify your achievements - did your actions have a positive effect on any aspect of the organisation, project or department’s functioning?  Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. Using phrases like ‘was involved in’ and ‘assisted in’ implies that you were more of a bystander than an instigator, instead use strong action verbs where you can like; 'created', 'managed', 'increased', 'improved', and take credit where credit is due.

Education & Training:

Use a bit of common sense here. If you have a degree in computer science, few people are going to be concerned about your individual GCSE grades or which High School you went to.  Academic qualifications should all be included but just make it concise if not relevant.  Remember you are not looking to describe the course it is the relevant parts related to the job you are going for.  Make sure to also include any professional training courses that you have done that are relevant to the job that you are applying for.

Personal Interests:

Should be quite a short section but provide a bit of interest in you.  Try to avoid clichéd comments like “I enjoy socialising” or “try to keep fit” as they really say nothing about you.

Personal Details:

These should be at the bottom as they are not important for your suitability but are vital if you are to be contacted!  Include your full address and postcode and contact numbers and email address.  Also include your nationality (and if applicable, visa status) but not your date of birth.

Summary

Make sure your CV is well laid out, easy to read and that you have checked it for spelling, punctuation and grammar – and then given it to someone else to double check it again.  Here at Myriad we are always happy to cast an eye over your CV and provide honest feedback: info@myriadrecruitment.com or 0161 442 3911.