Writing your first CV can be very daunting but most importantly, you need to make sure all the key information is included, and it’s easy to find. Reading a big block of text isn’t fun for anybody, so make sure you signpost the reader to where they can find the information – sub-headings are a great idea.
Finally, a CV is about showing yourself off. Although it does need to be formal, try to inject a bit of personality into the pages – by using colour, for example. Your CV is probably going to be the first thing any employer sees, so you need to make sure it stands out and shows you at your best.
As many students receive their exam results and for some the world of work beckons, one CEO has shared her tips for writing a stellar CV.
Anita Tweats, Business Leader and CEO of financial recruitment experts The Finance People has detailed everything from controversial topic such as photographs and social media handles to structural issues such as summaries and subheadings.
1. Don’t add a photo. Although it can be argued that it allows employers to get a first impression from you, this also means that they can make judgements from your image, which could be either positive or negative. And if the photo doesn’t match a company’s culture, it could hurt you.
Adding a photo can also make some hiring managers uncomfortable, as it relates to the possibility of making biased decisions
2. Your date of birth should also be omitted due to it being another diversity factor. Even if hiring managers are obliged to follow fair hiring practices, why take the chance of having your resume bypassed because of subconscious biases?
3. Your CV should be no longer than two pages. If it’s any longer, you’re not writing succinctly enough
4. Use LinkedIn! If employers are interested in you this is a fantastic way to find out a little bit more and what you get up to in your professional life.
5. When it comes to social media, unless it’s relevant for your industry, such as social media management, photography or journalism, potential employers aren’t going to enjoy your selfies, so leave your social handles off of your CV.
6. Ethnicity or religious choices don’t need to be displayed on your CV. If employers are monitoring diversity statistics, they will probably include their own questions as part of the application process.
7. Don’t put your address on your CV. Subconsciously, employers could favour someone closer to the role over someone who has to move. If necessary, a town or area name would suffice.
8. Ensure you have a sentence or two summarising yourself as a person. This is your chance to put some personality across and sell yourself before the employer looks further down the CV.
9. You should alter your CV every time you apply for a new job. If you can change your CV so that it matches words in the job specification it shows that you can tick these boxes and that you’re motivated enough to take the time to look into the company.
10. Do write in formal English. There’s a time and place for shortening words such as ‘don’t’ or ‘you’re’, but your CV isn’t one of these. Write as you would if writing an essay, to show you’re acknowledging the formality of the proceedings.
11. Do make your CV stand out. This can seem difficult when there seems to be so many ‘rules’ surrounding CVs but adding a bit of colour and thinking about the design of your CV can help you stick in the mind of an employer.
12. Get to the point! If you can’t reduce a long sentence to a couple of words, it’s probably too descriptive and can be removed.
13. Subheadings make sure you’re keeping your points relevant and also act as a great pointer for anyone reading your CV. If they’re looking for a specific fact about you, they can go straight to it, instead of having to read through a whole block of text.