At Nicoll Curtin, we understand the importance of making a good first impression, particularly when writing a CV. Our clients demand the best from their candidates, which is why our consultants have put together this quick guide to professional CV writing.
While there are is no standard style that you need to follow we have put together a basic template that will ensure you include all the relevant information.
1. A personalised profile, which highlights your key skills and achievements, at the top of your CV is hugely important. Most employers receive a large number of applications for every role, it’s important that employers can immediately understand your key skills and what you can do.
2. If you are a technical specialist, be sure to create a skills table that outlines your strengths, areas of expertise, and proficiency level. In technical industries, in particular, it is important that employers can quickly and easily understand your skillset.
3. The ability to be concise is important. Try to keep your CV under 3 pages if possible, and remember that employers are more interested in your most recent and most relevant experience.
4. Be consistent in your formatting – using the same font sizes, margins, spacing throughout. When used correctly, a dash of colour can help you stand out – but be careful when using this, as too much colour can detract from the professionalism of your CV.
5. Decide upon a structure for detailing your previous experience, and stick to this throughout. One of our favourite CV writing tips is to create a profile around each of your previous roles – detailing the role undertaken, your responsibilities and achievements.
6. It may seem obvious, but be sure to spellcheck and proofread your CV thoroughly before submitting it to an employer. Spelling mistakes not only look sloppy, but they also indicate a lack of attention to detail -and the prospects of many otherwise excellent candidates have been ruined by rogue spelling.
7. As mentioned previously, potential employers are mainly interested in your most recent experience, so be sure to list this chronologically and beginning with your latest role. If you’ve only recently finished education, don’t be afraid to include this near the beginning.
8. Employers love it when you can quantify your achievements. So if – for example – you have increased efficiency in a previous role, be sure to say by how much. Specifics are much more interesting to a future employer than alluding to vague achievements.
9. It may feel like a chore, but serious candidates are not afraid to tailor their CV to each role. Be sure to thoroughly read the job description for the role you are applying to, and make changes to your CV accordingly. By focusing on the experience that is most relevant to the role, you are far more likely to catch the eye of your potential future employer. Make sure you are familiar with each customised CV however so that you are comfortable talking about your experience and achievements at the interview.
10. If you have a gap in your employment, don’t be tempted to invent experience to bridge this space. Employers prefer an honest candidate with some employment gaps to one who is dishonest, so explain any gaps positively and truthfully
Your CV is your chance to demonstrate to an employer why you are best suited for the role. It is an opportunity for you to sell your skills and experience and get noticed.