Writing your CV? This is how to make it great!

Published
21 Dec 2020

21 Dec 2020

If you want to find a new job or get a promotion, getting your CV right is paramount.

You must take your time, plan and get the content right. Presenting yourself correctly on your CV increases your chance of securing an interview, so here’s some top CV writing tips to give you the best chance of getting your new role or promotion.

Firstly, what is a CV?

CV is short for curriculum vitae; it is a personal marketing document used to promote yourself to prospective employers.

It should be clear and easy to read. It should tell your next employer all about you, your professional history, your skills and achievements.

Ultimately, it should highlight why you are the best person for the job.

‘Must have’ CV content

Introduce yourself

  1. A ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ title is not necessary
  2. Full name
  3. Town or county you live in, full address is not required
  4. Mobile
  5. Email address (if you have a quirky email address, create a new one)
  6. If you have one, include a link to your LinkedIn profile – but make sure it is up to date first.

Personal Statement / Personal Profile

A crucial aspect of your CV! A short paragraph offering an overview of the type of person you are and what you are all about. It should be tailored to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to each role.

Aim to keep your personal statement no longer than a few sentences, addressing the following:

  1. Your current role and the industries you have worked in, such as: Hospitality, Leisure, Retail or FMCG
  2. Your experience and skills
  3. Your team or management style

ExampleAn experienced Assistant Manager with over 10 years’ experience within Hospitality and Retail, working in: pubs, casual dining, and high street retailers. Highly organised with excellent communication skills. Customer focused, always delivering and offering a first-class customer service, ensuring the customer is comfortable, welcome and happy. Able to motivate and develop teams ensuring training is always provided.  

Skills - optional

If you have technical skills, a qualification or certification relating to the role, such as, Personal License or Health and Safety. Or if you have software experience with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Photoshop, Adobe etc., list them here.   

Key Achievements

Stating your key achievements is extremely beneficial and shows the employer that you can deliver.  

It demonstrates what you did and the impact it had for your company, or for you personally. It illustrates a result that you specifically delivered whilst fulfilling a particular role.

This is not the same as a responsibility, which fits into your job description.

List your achievements as bullet points, which should address:

  • What you improved
  • An idea that improved a process
  • A delivered and on-time project
  • When you coached or developed a colleague
  • A new introduction (technology, training, staff rotas)
  • Revenue increase from pounds to pounds or percentage of margin increase/growth
  • Awards won
  • Compliments received by your supervisor or co-workers

 

Employment

For every position held include the following information in reverse chronological order. This means list your most recent position first.

  • Your job title
  • Start date to end date
  • Details of the company you work(ed) for, such as, number of employees, number of sites, company/group turnover
  • Duties, responsibilities and tasks in bullet points

 

Providing this information showcases where you are positioned within each company and the size of the company. If you have taken a year out or even a few months to go travelling, include details e.g sabbatical leave. A gap on a CV will raise eyebrows!​

Before you apply for a role, make sure a friend or relative has read your CV. A fresh pair of eyes goes a long way! They’ll be able to offer constructive advice, whilst also checking for any errors. Remember a great well-presented CV can be the difference between getting an interview or being overlooked.

Employers are most interested in the last three to seven years of your experience, so write more about your latest roles.

Education

Depending on how long you have been out of education, we suggest anything over five years can be at the end of your CV.

  1. Start with your most recent education
  2. Degree courses
  3. Any further courses that you have completed including any Diploma or NVQ courses
  4. Secondary school and higher education

All the above should include dates, the name of your university/college/school, subjects, grades, and qualification results.

Additional sections - optional

If you feel your CV is lacking, boost it by inserting a Hobbies or Interest section at the end. This can help to show how well you will fit in to the company or the industry.

Be cautious! Avoid listing hobbies that do not add value to your CV. Instead showcase interests that make you stand out or are relevant to the job.

Finally…

  • Keep your CV plain and simple
  • Use sensible margins and a readable font
  • Don’t reduce margins or use a smaller font to squeeze more information in – It is not easy to read, can look messy and it may imply you are unable to prioritise
  • Only ever print your CV on plain white paper
  • Your CV can be more than two pages, especially if you have a wealth of relevant experience
  • Important! Keep it up-to-date as sending an old CV will look unprofessional