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How to Write a CV


Some other useful tips

It’s a good idea to tweak your CV or resume according to the specific job you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying for a job which specifies a large amount of admin, alter your CV to highlight your admin experience as opposed to, say, your computer skills or customer service background. 

Don’t lie, but change the order of your bullet points to start with your admin achievements.  Save a new copy of your CV each time you make changes to your original template.

Keep your CV or resume to two pages in length

This isn’t as hard as you think, and more is definitely less for recruiters with limited time and a large pile of CVs.  There is nothing more off putting than a rambling CV several pages thick, or a sparse CV padded out with detailed descriptions of various temping assignments or, even worse, white space.  The recruiter will not be fooled into thinking that you have more experience than you actually possess, and will probably become annoyed by your lack of concision and long winded writing style.  There are rare exceptions to this, for example CVs for experienced executives applying for senior posts, or academic job applications, which often include lists of publications.

Proof read your CV

This one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people either don’t bother, or don’t give this enough attention.  It can be difficult to spot your own mistakes, so ask someone else to look at it for you.  You can also use the grammar and spell checkers on your computer, but be warned, these are not failsafe, so use a dictionary or thesaurus as back up.  You may think spelling and punctuation errors are minor concerns, but in a competitive job market where employers prize attention to detail, accuracy and good written English skills - they are not.

Make sure there are no gaps in your CV

Nothing makes an employer more suspicious than periods of time between employment or education which are unaccounted for.  You may have been traveling or doing short term jobs, but if you don’t tell the recruiter, they could assume you’ve had a spell in a secure institution.  Chances are you will have been doing something, so tell the truth and put a positive spin on it by mentioning what you achieved or learnt in the process.  If you were temping in a succession of assignments, or involved in simultaneous short term projects, summarise these briefly and give one or two specific examples, rather than detailing them all individually.

Keep your CV or resume up to date

It is very frustrating for an employer reading a CV in August, which hasn’t been updated since February.  It looks, and is, lazy, and doesn’t give the employer one of the most important pieces of information, ie what you are currently doing.  It can also put you in an embarrassing situation if, having fluked your way to interview, you are asked by the interviewer to describe your role at Company X - and you then have to explain that in fact you left there four months ago and are now working for Company Y.  A good way to stay on top of your developing CV is to update it regularly with new roles and achievements when they happen, regardless of if you’re applying for a job or not.

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