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CV Writing Tips

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author: James Kenealey

The purpose of the CV is to get you that all-important interview. To do this, it must be sharply focused and designed to grab the employer's attention. Your task is to convince the employer that you meet the requirements. Therefore a 'one-size-fits-all' CV is less likely to make an impact than one which has been adjusted to focus on the requirements of a specific job.

Things to keep in mind

  • Job match analysis involves the evaluation of your profile compared to the job description. Carrying out such analysis will enable you to match your own skills and accomplishments to those that the employer is looking for. It will also help you to target your CV, covering letter and interview answers with greater accuracy and precision. You should begin by studying the job advertisement to determine exactly what your prospective employer requires. The job description will give a summary of the purposes of the job and the duties involved. The employee specification will identify the knowledge, skills and competencies required of an ideal jobseeker

  • It is extremely important to research the company or organisation that you are applying to. Relevant information is usually obtainable from their promotional literature, annual reports and website. Internet search engines can be a particularly fruitful resource.

  • Tailor your CV so that it addresses the employer's needs. Prioritise and highlight the skills and accomplishments which you think would fit the employer's expectations of the ideal employee. Use the words and phrases that appear in the advertisement and highlight the skills and experience specifically requested remembering to include transferable skills. Try to deduce what other unspecified skills might be required. Make sure to record all your relevant qualifications and experience.

  • Remember the distinction between claims and credibility. Make statements about your skills and achievements and back them up with hard evidence. Give examples of problems you may have encountered, the actions you took and the results you obtained. Concentrate on how the company benefited in terms of improved productivity, sales, profits, customer relations, etc. Use action verbs when listing accomplishments in your hard-copy CV, i.e. 'conducted', 'established', 'implemented', 'increased', ' investigated', 'negotiated', 'reorganised'. Quantify, personalise and be specific in your descriptions.

  • When describing your work experience, use job titles or skill headings that match the job you are applying for. Be positive and forward-looking. Use past accomplishments as an indicator of future results. Concentrate on how your prospective employer will benefit from your skills, qualifications and experience.

  • Since your CV will be competing with hundreds of others, visual layout is very important. It must be carefully structured, uncluttered and easy to scan. Headings should be appropriate. Use section breaks, white space and bullet points to break the text. Ideally, it should no longer than two A4 sheets. Check for spelling, grammar and typographical errors.

CVs have changed - is yours 2020 friendly?

The basic CV has not changed for a very long time but now thanks to the internet the CV is undergoing a metamorphosis.

Smart job seekers are changing their CV's to maximise their success in finding suitable positions through the web. Computers and database search engines use different criteria than a personnel manager when initially identifying potential jobseekers.

Verbs are Out - Nouns are In

Keywords are essential has these are words that pop up when employers search a database. Keywords also tend to be nouns i.e. skills, software packages, types of projects etc. Adjectives and verbs generally will not be used as the search criteria and CV's that rely on these will therefore have a reduced chance of being shortlisted.

Chronology is Out - KSA is In

KSA stands for Knowledge, Skills and Ability. Many of the most successful CV's on the Net have a key word section very near the top containing all the person's attributes. This section ensures that your CV is more likely to be selected when an employer searches a database.

Formatting is dead

Switch off the fancy italics and bold face - databases cannot understand them and scanners tend to scramble them.

Like everything associated with modern technology, usage of the Net as a recruitment tool is accelerating very quickly. For those of you who want to be well ahead of the game how about attaching a short video attachment to an online resume and smile sweetly at your future employer before you have met them?