10 top tips for writing a CV

Applying for a new job, or maybe just want to refresh your CV? Here are some top tips for writing the ultimate CV by one of our Employability Skills Tutor, Russ…

1. Create a smart & professional format. When seen on a desk amongst others, you want your A4 page to look neat, organised, not too wordy… and stand out!

2. Avoid photos, clip art, borders and banners. These kinds of features generally make the CV look less professional.

3. Less is more. Your CV should only be one or two pages… any more than two pages means your CV is less likely to be considered. It can be off-putting to an employer if they see your CV as a novel!

4. Do not include your age or date of birth. Ever!

5. Be aware that a CV is viewed critically. Avoid statements that can be misconstrued, for example, “enjoys going out with friends”, can be read as “party animal that will be too hungover to work”.

6. Check it, and check it again. If you have poor spelling, get someone else to look over it. Spelling mistakes do not mean you would necessarily be a bad employee, but it does suggest that you have not bothered to check your work. If you describe yourself as diligent or having good attention to detail, people will call you on mistakes.

7. Up word. Rather than simply describing your duties, try to sneak in words that make you sound a good bet. “Employed as a shop assistant” becomes “TRUSTED to advise customers.”

8. Include soft skills. Do not worry if you have limited education or qualifications. Employers need life skills like good time keeping and people who have demonstrated responsibility. If you have turned up regularly to coach a kids football team, that demonstrates dedication and effort – include it.

9. Include a covering letter when you can. A good CV tends to be lists of stuff you have done, a covering letter lets a bit more passion show through. It also gives you an opportunity to explain career breaks so your CV isn’t discounted out of hand.

10. Always try to get feedback whether you obtain an interview or not. Then LISTEN to it.