Best CV Writing Tips: How to Write a Successful CV
Are you writing a CV? Unsure of what to include and what to omit? Worry not because you are not alone. Below we have wrapped up tips that will help you write a CV that will grab the attention of potential employers at first glance.
Best CV writing tips
Do your research
Researching for the target role is very crucial and something you must consider very seriously before you start writing your CV. Consider hitting the job boards and making a list of the most sought-after requirements for the target roles.
Once sure of skills to include in your CV, proceed to prepare it. It is only through proper research that you will write a CV that contains the skills and experiences that your desired employers are looking for.
Break text up
Reading long texts is boring, and if you include them in your CV will likely put off recruiters. Keep in mind recruiters go through hundreds of CVs every week. So, to make your CV attractive and easy to read, consider breaking up text into small digestible sections.
Where appropriate, use bullets to make your work more engaging.
Add a punchy profile to your CV.
A CV profile or professional profile is very crucial. Appearing at the top of your CV, it allows you to grab the attention of recruiters by summarising the most valuable skills employers are looking for. Remember to keep this section short.
Use a core skills section.
This is another very crucial section just right below your profile. It is a bullet-pointed list that allows you to give employers a quick snapshot of your offering at first glance.
You can include anything from the skills you have to your experience. Just remember to customize it well.
Use a professional email address.
Consider adding a simple email address that is easy to read and remember. For example, email@example.com. Such an email address reflects your professionalism.
By all means, refrain from adding email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org because they will tarnish your professional impression.
Show your impact
Just listing your responsibilities is not good reason enough to grab the attention of employers. You need to go a step further and show them why you are the right candidate.
In a nutshell, you need to show your impact. For example, if applying to become an app developer, show how you will use your skills to build a better app or improve the existing one.
Basically, responsibility + result = impact. So, make sure to show you can be a great value once hired.
Structure your CV for easy navigation
A well-structured CV will certainly land you an interview. Such a CV is not only easy to read by also appealing to recruiters. You can even hire someone to restructure your CV if you find it challenging to tailor it well. Just make sure your CV sections are divided and labeled.
Give a high-level summary of your roles.
Going directly to the nitty-gritty of your roles is not a good idea as it can be confusing for readers. Instead, start with a brief summary that explains what the employer does, your position within the organization, and how you benefit the employer.
Now, if you list roles, it will be easier for employers to understand how your work contributes to the overall success of your employers.
Avoid generic clichés
While terms like “out-of-the-box thinker,” “hardworking,” and “team player” may seem impressive, ignore them because they don’t tell employers anything factual about you. If you have to add them, then make sure to include relevant or supporting examples.
Customize your CV for every job
Every job is unique. Every job has its requirements. Tailoring your CV for every position is, therefore, crucial if you are a serious job seeker who is ready to secure a job. If you scan every job post before customizing your CV, nothing should stop you from winning the hearts of hiring managers.
Use a simple font
There are fonts such as Calibri, Arial, and Times New Roman recommended for CV. These fonts are easy to read to both human and applicant tracking systems.
Additionally, they give your CV s professional look. So, unless you have been requested to use different fonts, stick to standard CV fonts.
Do not use logo images.
Avoid including logo images of the companies you have worked for. Adding them will only make your file unnecessarily big and, in some cases, confuse scanning software.
Instead, keep your CV simple by writing the names of all your employers.
Add a professional title.
The easiest way to show recruiters what type of candidate you are is by including a professional title at the top of your CV. Make sure to tailor your title toward the role you are applying for. “Editor, ” “Graphic Designer,” “Web Developer,” and “Project Manager” are good examples of professional titles to include at the top of your CV.
Do not add a photo to your CV.
It is not a requirement to add a photo unless the employer has requested you include a photo or apply for an acting or modeling job. In fact, in countries like the UK, it is not mandatory to include your headshot.
Instead, use that space for compelling content that will lure employers into hiring you.
Include plenty of detail on your most recent roles
Employers scrutinize your most recent roles more than any other role. So, it is good that you provide enough details to explain them fully.
Shorten older roles
As aforementioned, employers are more interested in your most current roles and not your older roles. So, it is ok to shorten them just to give a summary of your career path.
Use conventional colors
While it is ok to add a few colors to create a modern CV look, please don’t go crazy about it. More colors will make your CV look unprofessional. That is not something you want to happen to you. To be on the safe side, stick to standard colors.
Avoid using skills graphs.
While using skills graphs may seem a good idea, the problem with them is that they don’t offer real tangible information. The best option is quoting real, tangible information recruiters can relate to. See the examples below:
- Length of experience: “3 years of digital marketing experience.”
- The scale of tasks:” Trained a team of 10 content writers in 6 months.”
- Qualifications and training: “Google certified.”
Tidy up your page transitions
A CV is a professional document. So, you need to make sure everything is right. Keep your page transitions nice and tidy. Don’t allow them to look sloppy.
Keep your CV short
There is no hard rule regarding CV length, but it is recommended to keep your CV short. Lengthy CVs tend to put off recruiters that why shrinking your CV is a big plus.
Keep in mind that recruiters are busy people and don’t have the time to read a multi-page CV.
Use professional language
Do you want to impress recruiters? Then make sure to use professional language when writing your CV. Any other language will send create a bad impression about you. Feel free to use tools like Grammarly to improve your writing.
List your roles in reverse chronological order.
Why? As we said before, recruiters are more interested in your most recent work to assess your capabilities. Listing your roles in reverse chronological order, therefore, places your current and significant roles first.
Explain gaps in your employment
It is common for people to have gaps in their employment for various reasons. If you happen to have gaps, it is imperative to explain them. Leaving an unexplained gap will make employers suspicious, and providing false information may land you in trouble when it comes to reference checks.
If you spent time outside of work doing something constructive, you could use that to put a positive spin on a career break description.
Send your CV in the right format.
PDF or MS Word, which is the right format? Both formats are correct. MS word will pass through scanning software and is excellent in case the recruiter wants to edit your CV.
Saving your CV as PDF makes sure your file remains as it is. PDF files are not editable unless after conversion. To avoid annoying recruiters, always save your CV in the format requested.
Give your CV document a professional file name.
The filename of your CV will be the first thing recruiters will see before opening it. A professional name (first name – surname CV) is attractive and will create a good impression about you.
Using messy names like “PerryCV10001” will only make you look bad.
Use space wisely
A professional CV utilizes all the spaces well. So, avoid unnecessary spaces when writing and formatting your CV. In a nutshell, make every square inch count.
Omit unnecessary personal details
Avoid including unnecessary details such as your marital status or age in your CV. Such information adds no value to your CV. They use valuable space you can use to include compelling details.
You might be tempted to include false information to grab the attention of recruiters. As much as this is appealing to you, you may soon find yourself in trouble during the reference check. Not to mention that false information will hurt your reputation.
Include facts and figures
Facts and figures help you back your achievements. Adding them helps employers see your value. See this example for more information:
- Led a team of 20 staff.
- Managed a budget of $300k.
- Worked across 10 locations.
Proofread your CV
After writing your CV, consider going through it several times to remove errors. Simple errors can make recruiters trash your CV at first glance and see you as a joker.
You can use tools like Grammarly to polish your work. Alternatively, hire an expert to proofread your work.
The above tips come in handy when writing a professional CV. Hopefully, you will find them valuable next time you are preparing a CV. Need more help? We are here to help.