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A practical guide to structuring your CV

29 Mar 15:00 by Adam Pyle

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Writing a CV is as much about structure as it is about detail. We asked recruiter Emma Moxpile to give us some tips for how to structure yours.

When I’m trying to write a “very good” CV – which is the bare minimum for standing out in this market – I use multiple sources in the process. My first point is to search the exact job title online; for example, if I am applying to be a “marketing executive”, then I will google the job term.

Although this is a basic process, it means that I can look up several definitions of it and use those as the basis for my professional summary. For a marketing executive role, this can create something as simple as “an academically and professionally experienced marketing graduate, well versed in providing strong campaign support, applying known industry principles in complex situations across multiple businesses.” Suddenly, you have a basis for your CV that will fit the general requirements of the profession.

Next, I will look at job descriptions for a similar level from multiple places (Reed, LinkedIn, CIM Marketing Jobs) for the role, and I’ll insert a couple of lines of what they say they are looking for in to my profile section. This means that I am confirming that I can do what THEY say they need to be done. In a marketing context, it’s like having all the right keywords.

I then use professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to see how people with that job title describe their work. How do they describe their key skills and tasks? Then, to the best of my ability, I liken that to what I am doing in my role. Even if it’s something that I’ve dealt with only it only tangentially, I will put it down, because it’s something I have been exposed to and an area that I can work on pre-interview.

When writing your key skills, you can bullet point them in a short summary based on the requirements of the role. If you were applying for a marketing executive role within the digital team, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to show you good you are at using data. So, I would put a summary of your key skills like this:

  • Analytical: Able to analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends.

After putting down my key skills, I will move on to the professional experience section. I think this is better to put, especially for experienced marketers, because employers want to see your experience before they want to see your academic record. So, I’ll begin by listing my professional experience over the last five-year period; I would advise this as a maximum length of time because anything else can be out of date.

I will put down bullet points of what I am responsible for that are short and based on the requirements of the role that I am applying for. If I am able to quantify my work, then I will. For example, this specific example below sounds better than a general bullet point:

  • Responsible for monitoring, tracking, and analysing company activity on LinkedIn, helping growth our followers more than 37% over a 12-month period.

That is a really good, specific, and objective example to use if we are applying for that social media role mentioned earlier.

The only other hidden thing to mention with this section is to be consistent with job titles where you can. If you can show career growth on your CV, it’s so much the better.

After that, and only after that, I will add my academic achievements – putting results in and dates attained but not specific modules – and then the personal interests. People sometimes sleep on these sections but they provide an excellent icebreaker for an interview and is an important section for showing why you are a fully-rounded individual with outside interests and an enquiring mind.

So, this is my format for delivering an effective CV. If it’s a template you want to follow, it may mean a lot of work, but doing it once well is far easier than adjusting it slightly every time.

 

Is your CV ready to go? Start trying it out by applying for your dream role with CIM Marketing Jobs.