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How to make your CV the best it can be

25 Nov 14:00 by Carter Murray

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Recruiters like CVs that are snappy and informative. Here’s how to make yours exactly that.

 

Before you embark on any job hunt, you need a CV that is fit for purpose. That purpose tends to be showing the reader exactly why you are a good candidate for the job in question. Because your CV might be just one among many, it also needs to deliver that information fast. We asked one of our leading recruiters, Carter Murray, how to make a CV snappy and informative. Here’s what they told us.

It’s crucial that your CV does not take up too much of a recruiter or potential employer’s precious time. With this in mind, the initial review of your CV should not last any longer than three minutes. To achieve this, it will need to be professional and easy to read, with your key achievements at its front and centre.

Remember that the CV will need to be accompanied by a covering letter. This letter should not be a generic document: tailor it closely to meet the requirements of the job ad and its candidate specification.

Returning to the CV itself, it is a good idea to split it into four easily digestible sections: personal information, qualifications, employment history and interests.

Personal information

This straightforward section should include:

•    Full name

•    Address

•    Telephone numbers (day/evening/mobile, as appropriate)

•    Email address

•    Whether you are eligible to work or need a work permit (if relevant)

•    Foreign language capabilities, including proficiency (do not exaggerate your fluency, as an interviewer may test you)

Qualifications

If you are educated to degree level (or have a higher qualification) it is only necessary to briefly list earlier academic qualifications with appropriate grades.

Any degree should have the name of the establishment from which it was gained from and the level/grade obtained.

This section should also include any professional qualifications. Readers often look for any work-related training, especially if it has led to a particular qualification.

Employment history

Best practice is to put your employment history in reverse chronological order. Alongside dates, company names and job titles, there should be detail on the size and scope of your responsibilities and achievements in each position.

Here, it is important to keep in mind that potential employers are looking for evidence that you can add value to their organisation. These dos and don’ts can help you show them:

DO

• Give most space to your most recent job

• State your title

• Include a brief description of your organisation, if it is not well known

• Only put the month and year of joining and leaving any employer. (Your current position should be ‘to date’)

• Group your experience according to type of work

• Use sub-headings

• List involvement in particular projects and specific project responsibilities

DON’T

• Leave out any period of employment – ensure that your time is accounted for

• Give reasons for leaving any of the jobs on your CV – it is far better to explain your moves in person at interview

• Embellish your CV or be economical with the truth – you will be found out at interview

• Include salary information – but be prepared to discuss your salary with recruitment consultants at an early stage, so they know you are in the right range

Interests

The key here is: if in doubt, leave it out. This section should be no longer than two lines.

For any interest you do include, be prepared to elaborate on it: for example, prepare to discuss the last play you saw, the most recent book you read, the last place you went scuba diving, etc.

 

If your CV is illuminating enough already, find out what opportunities Carter Murray can offer you at CIM Marketing Jobs.