Working in recruitment, we are often asked for advice on CV writing tips. It’s one of those important documents in life that we all write at some point. So how do you know you’ve compiled a well put together CV?
Our Recruitment Consultant, Sarah Webb answers some of our frequently asked questions by candidates to help you ensure you create a stand-out CV.
When you are looking for a new role, your CV is what a potential employer or recruiter sees first. As your CV is the first impression anyone gets of you, it is paramount to get it right.
A CV should tell a potential employer about you and it should market your skills. It is very easy when writing a CV to sell yourself short, not highlight all of your relevant experience, overlook key skills, or even write things that are damaging. Remember everything you put in your CV needs to add value.
Whilst everyone's CVs are slightly different, and the content you add will be different depending on your experience, the structure and core elements are the same. You can download our free CV guide on our website under the candidate services tab.
Here are some commonly asked questions we get about CV writing
Should my CV be only two pages long?
As a general rule 2 pages is a good length for a CV. When writing a CV, it is important to keep the information relevant. What recruiters and employers don't want to see is 50 bullet points for every job you have had going back 20 years.
When applying for a role, read carefully what they are looking for in skills, experience and what the job entails and if you need to, cut down your CV take out any elements which are unnecessary or where you repeat yourself often e.g. If a job advert is looking for a candidate who is flexible, you can use your most recent roles to demonstrate this skill. What you don't need to do is include every time you have ever been flexible in your personal profile, key skills, achievements and write it for every job you have had because "making a round of drinks for 10 people, who all have something different in under 7 minutes" generally, isn't the flexibility being asked for.
If you do go over two pages, and all of your content is relevant, then that is okay. Some roles require additional information. It may be that you need to include certificates and qualifications as well as job history.
With that said, do not sell your self short on your CV.
Too commonly we also see CVs from candidates that lack any real information. If you have been in your current role for 10 years, summing up all of this experience in 2 bullet points does not showcase your experience. It can be hard to write about yourself, you may think that some of your responsibilities aren't important, it is a good idea to write down everything you do in your current position and include anything relevant in your CV.
I am a Graduate and my CV is only one page is this okay?
YES. As a graduate, you aren't going to have years of work history to include on your CV, and employers and recruiters understand this.
Should I include hobbies and interests in my CV?
These are great to add to your CV if you are a graduate, school leaver, or lack experience. And believe it or not, we do want to know about you as a person because once your CV has sold your skills and you get an interview, it is your personality as well as your skills that gets you the job.
However, including your hobbies and interests needs to add something to your CV. Applying for a job that requires a motivational speaker and you just so happen to be the team captain of a sports team, great. You are applying for a role that requires on-call work, listing your hobby as never saying no to a beer at the pub. Not so great.
Your hobbies don't need to be directly related to your role, without realising there may be many transferable skills within your hobbies to support your application.
If you don't have any hobbies and your CV is already 2 pages, it is fine to leave it blank, you don't have to add anything to fill this gap. Writing "I like going out with my friends" isn't going to add value to your CV.
Should I write my work history in bullet points or paragraphs?
You may want to write a few sentences to add context around your job role before you delve straight into bullet points. Bullet points should be used to list your responsibilities, achievements and duties within your CV. This is much cleaner than paragraphs upon paragraphs of writing and it will give an employer or recruiter a clear demonstration of what your role entailed and accomplishments.
Bullet points should be clear, easy to read, and precise especially if your CV is already lengthy and you are looking to shorten it.
You don't need to write "I" "I was" "it was my responsibility" "I managed" "I was responsible for" after every bullet point e.g.
- I was responsible for answering a large amount of incoming calls - This can be changed to
- Successfully answered 50-70 incoming calls per day
Extra top tips for CV Writing?
SPELLCHECK, Spelcheck, spellcheke
Don't write in the third person
Use a clean font that is easy to read