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The Do's and Don'ts of writing a CV

19th Jan 2017

Nowadays, it's easier than ever for people to apply for a job. Gone are the days where a candidate had to print out a CV and stick it in the post. Now, candidates can just attach a word doc or PDF to an email and send it off to a generic email address or upload it to an ATS for processing.

We have seen job ads with thousands of applications for a single position.

Make Sure You Stand Out

Candidates need to stand out and they need to stand out immediately. A recruiter typically has less than 10 seconds to make a decision on whether to move that candidate forward or not.

Try counting to 10 now whilst reviewing a magazine advert or a page of a book. How much did you actually understand in that 10 seconds?

Your CV needs to be a reflection of you. It shouldn't just include your career history, experience or skill set but also your personality (especially important if it's pertinent to the type of role you are applying for) and you only have about 10 seconds to get all that across.

For example:

If you are in the creative industries (design, marketing, PR) you need to show your design skills to their fullest extent. Have a look at some of these CVs and this interactive CV.

Project Your Strength

You need to use the right words. There are weak words and strong words; weak words will leave you on the pile whereas strong words will ensure you make the first cut.

For example:

Weak: Ran a project to make the business more efficient.

Strong: Implemented a self help ticketing solution that reduced support headcount from 14 to 8 and saved £500k per annum every year since implementation.

Show Interest In The Role

Don't send in a generic CV for 100 different roles at different organisations. Tweak it so that it's pertinent to the role you are applying for.

For example:

If the business is a fashion retail store, explain to them why you want to work in retail and what experience you have had in retail. Don't tell them about the warehouse job or the night shift at the security desk. They want to know that you are on trend with the latest fashion, that you understand what compliments each ensemble.

Be Interesting

Why, oh why do people say that their hobby is 'going to the pub with friends and family or 'reading'? Yawn. All that says to your potential employer is that you have a lack of interesting activity (and originality). If reading is your hobby, explain what type of literature you read. Have you just read Sapiens by Yoval Noah Harari and learnt a lot about how humans evolved and that sparked your interest further that you are now reading about Money and the impact trust has on the value of money? Make your hobby come to life.

In summary, if you're going to the effort of applying for a role then make sure you spend a little bit more time to make the application itself and your CV worthwhile otherwise you're just wasting your time and will likely be rejected at the first cut. Remember: stand out, project strength, show interest in the role, and be interesting.