Wheeler White


Taking the Rigmarole out of Recruitment

Guide to Writing a CV

Your CV is the most important part of your job search. It is the first thing that a potential employer or agency will see and with the current economic climate meaning the job market is flooded, you need to make sure that your CV gets you over the first hurdle.

Whether you are applying directly for a job, sending your CV out speculatively or uploading it onto a jobsite it is imperative that your CV is right and shows you in a positive light.

Employers and agencies are flooded with CV’s on a daily basis. When we look at CV’s we are looking in the first instance for reasons to turn candidates down. Why is this person NOT right for the job.

CV’s that have spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, are all in upper or lower case will be put in the no pile straight away. CV’s that are poorly laid out, are difficult to read, have no dates on will be declined.

When there is a wide choice of candidates, employers and agencies can be fussy. We are looking for good strong CV’s of candidates who are relevant to the job.

There is a lot of advice out there on how to lay out your CV. Word Processing programmes have templates that you can use. Just bear in mind these golden rules:

Make sure you have the dates (month and year) for all of the jobs on your CV and make sure all of the dates are correct 

Do not use large blocks of writing, use bullet points 

Check, check and recheck your CV for spelling and grammatical errors. When you have checked it ask one or two other people to check it for you as well.

Do not do your CV in a rush and then send it out or add it to a job board. There is no excuse for a CV with mistakes and once you’ve sent it it’s too late. 

Tell the truth.

At Wheeler White we use a standard format for CV’s that we send out to our clients. It is simple and it works.

Start with a Personal Profile. A couple of paragraphs about yourself and your skills. A line or two about what you are looking for. If you are posting you CV on a jobsite make your profile quite general. If you are sending it for a particular job then tailor it to that job.

Whatever you do make sure it is relevant to the job you are sending it for

We receive numerous CV’s that have clearly been put together for a particular job. For example if we advertise a telesales job we may get a CV saying, I am looking for a career in field sales. This CV would end up straight in the no pile.

The next part on your CV depends on whether you are recently out of education or not. If you are then put your Education section next. The place you studied, the dates and your subjects and grades. If you are awaiting results, say so and put down your anticipated grades.

If your education is further back then your career history is more relevant so put this next. Career History should be most recent first. You should put the company name, job title and dates. Then you should bullet point aspects of your job, your achievements etc. You should make clear what your company, makes/sells.

Next, if you haven’t already, should come your education and training; again most recent first.
Next you can put your hobbies and interests, any voluntary work and extra activities that you take part in. It’s the part of your CV when you can give someone a real idea of the real you. Remember you may be questioned around this so be truthful and up to date.

If you put that you read be prepared to answer questions about the type of books you enjoy, if you’ve not picked up a book for ten years do not put it on your CV.

Lastly you can put your personal details. Now this section is very much a matter of personal choice as to the information that you include. Due to employment law you do not have to give details of your age, marital status and whether you have children. If you want to then that’s fine, if not that is also fine. This is also the place where you can give details of whether you are a driver with your own transport.

CV’s ideally should be on 2 pages. If you are struggling with this look at the font and spacing you are using. If you are finding it impossible then make sure your CV is no longer than 3 pages.
Some people use the words Curriculum Vitae at the top of their CV. I think this is unnecessary, it’s obvious what it is and also shocking how many people spell this wrong. Leave it off and you know it’s a mistake that you’ve avoided.

Remember, once you have done your CV you need to learn it ready for interview, you will always be asked questions around you CV so make sure you can back up every claim that you have made and most importantly before you use your CV check it recheck it and then ask others to check it!!

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