1. Remember the purpose of the CV
Your CV is the first point of contact between you and a prospective new employer. It is unlikely that the reader will know anything about you except what’s in the CV – so try to see it from their perspective. Make sure the employer understands what you have to offer and how you could be an asset to their organisation.
2. Make sure it’s easy to understand
When you use your CV in support of a job application it will usually arrive along with a large number of others. The person reading it will only allow a very short time for an initial appraisal of each candidate so in the first instance they will ‘speed read’ the applications. You may be ideal for the job, but you will have lost your opportunity to prove it if your CV is too complicated.
3. Not too much detail
If the layout of the CV is not attractive, or there are long paragraphs of prose, the employer could discard your CV without ever reading it at all. You need to impart the maximum information with the minimum effort on the part of the reader. The most common mistake people make is including too much detail.
4. Prioritise information
Although it can be a daunting task, you must prioritise information and only include what is really important and relevant. The reader doesn’t need to know how your last employers ran their Company. When writing a CV, always remember that ‘less is more’. Your CV will have far more impact if you include less information but make sure that it is all totally relevant.
5. Avoid repetition
Be careful that you don’t repeat the same information in different sections. Organise the CV so that each bit of information only appears once. After you have completed your CV writing, go through the document and strike any unnecessary adjectives or repetitions. You will be surprised at how much this will improve and streamline your CV.
6. Use bulleted lists
In CV writing bulleted lists are much better than paragraphs of prose. However bullet points are not meant to be used simply as paragraph dividers. In order for a bulleted list to be effective, the points need to be carefully formulated so that they have impact. Don’t make each point too complicated and don’t include too many points in any list.
7. Keep it clear and concise
A CV is essentially a marketing document for use in a very competitive field. It needs to be written so that it is pleasing to the eye and will impart information in a very clear and well organised format. It needs to be businesslike and there is no need for any fancy presentation.
8. Be objective
Remember that employers are really only interested in what you can bring to their organisation. They don’t need to know everything about you. You need to demonstrate the skills and competencies you have to offer. If an employer is interested and wants to know more they can always ask you for additional information.
9. Always tell the truth
You can be sure you will be found out if you include things which are untrue. There is no need to ‘big-up’ your past achievements and qualities. An experienced employer will see straight through this. Avoid ‘perceptions’ that is anything which is only a matter of opinion. Although you may say that you have a particularly pleasing personality, it is unlikely that people will take your word for it.
10. Identify your market
The trick in writing an effective CV is to identify your target market and then demonstrate that you have the skills and competencies that the prospective employer is looking for. Read the job description and person specification very carefully. Identify what they are actually seeking and make sure that your CV clearly demonstrates what you have to offer.