How to write a good CV

Posted 03/08/2016 by Libby Pearce

How to write an effective CV:

Creating a CV that is memorable and stands out from the crowd is crucial to securing interviews.  Your recruitment consultant is likely to use your CV along with a covering note to introduce you. Use the covering note to highlight how your experience dovetails with the job description and your CV to provide a more detailed insight into your skills and experience. Consider your CV a sales document.

Follow these steps to help make your CV stand out from the crowd:

Get the basics right

  • Towards the start of your career begin with a summary of your academic record. There is no need to go into detail of what you achieved in every module or exam, simply a summary of what grades you achieved. 
  • Your work experience should be in chronological order with your most recent role at the top and the roles most relevant to the one you are applying for also as  prominent as possible.
  •  Your CV should be clearly divided into sections rather than long pieces of prose. Use bullet points and bold headings to make the structure and content easy to digest.

Tailor the CV to the role

  • Your CV should be tailored to the role you are applying for. Put more detail into parts of your CV that relate to the job you are applying for. (E.g. when applying to a real estate role, the real estate section of your CV should be longest and most detailed). 
  • You should highlight your achievements rather than just your responsibilities, emphasise the value you added rather than just what your tasks and responsibilities were.
  •  Don’t be afraid to put in the names of clients you have dealt with as well as the values of transactions you have been involved in, this is a key aspect of your experience that potential employers are looking for.

Avoid the waffle

  •  Avoid ‘padding out’ your CV with unnecessary detail, for example work irrelevant to the vacancy. If you include additional experience, do not go into detail with this.
  • Your CV should be as concise as possible but long enough to communicate relevant experience. It is a myth that CVs should be no longer than two pages.
  • Spelling and grammar errors are unacceptable. Ask someone to review the CV and covering letter before submitting them.  Clients often reject candidates purely because of spelling and grammar. 
  • A final section listing your hobbies and interests gives potential employers an insight into your wider personality as well as something to chat about in the interview.

DMJ’s consultants will be happy to give your CV a once over before it is submitted, so don’t be afraid to send them a draft and ask for suggestions. We see hundreds of CVs every week and speak to dozens of clients about what they are looking for so we are perfectly placed to advise you.

Click here to download one of DMJ’s CV templates to give you an idea of an effective CV layout.

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