The best way to start to know how to write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) is to break the CV writing process down into three simple steps …
Many applicants undersell themselves by not ‘targeting’ their CV towards the industry in which they are seeking employment.
How to write a CV well is to do your homework; read about the jobs you are targeting, talk to friends in similar jobs.
Ask yourself, “how can I add value to this company?”, “how is my previous experience relevant to the job I am applying for?” For example, an ex bar manager seeking a job in marketing will demonstrate competence by listing supervision and cashier roles, but detailing ways in which he increased beer sales by arranging a quiz night, darts team or a ‘happy hour’, will show an understanding of how promotions can boost sales (an essential skill in marketing!).
With your research complete. You should make quick lists under each of the following headings: ‘Profile’, ‘Career History’, ‘Education’, ‘ Skills & Qualifications’, ‘Hobbies & Interests’, and ‘References’. The lists will ensure that you don’t miss anything out when you come to put your CV together. Also a good CV should be:
Profile: List personality traits, attributes, ambitions (ask yourself, “how are these suited to the job I am targeting?”)
Career History: Write a short paragraph outlining your previous job title (50 words max), then list the roles and achievements related to this employment (use your research to expand on these roles, how are they relevant to the job you are targeting today?)
Education: For each institution, list all course programmes, subjects studied and grades achieved (if the grades were poor, or not relevant because it was such a long time ago, then leave them out). If applicable, you should also list other achievements (e.g. school prefect, captain of the hockey team – anything that demonstrates skills that might help you add value in your new job role – refer to your research!).
Skills & Qualifications: These might include languages, a driving license, health & safety accreditations.
Hobbies & Interests: You’re there to work, the employer doesn’t care what you do in your spare time, right? Wrong. Sporting interests, socialising, and family values are all relevant and will play a role on how well you fit into the team. Be as honest as you can.
References: Use no more than three. Previous employers are preferable. If you are new to the job market, or have a poor relationship with your previous company, you could use a teacher, or an acquaintance with a senior/respectable job within a well-known company.
Our Free CV Template will help you through all of the below points, but here’s a quick rundown on how to write a CV if you’d rather start from scratch.
Personal Information: Your name should be at the top of the document, preferably in larger text (this is, after all, what the document is trying to sell). As a minimum, you will need to add your address, date of birth (optional), and contact details.
What next? ‘Education’ or ‘Career History’? Choose whatever is most relevant, a university graduate, with limited related work experience, should almost certainly place ‘Education’ before ‘Career’, whereas a 30 year management veteran should always begin with ‘Career History’. To make it easier for you to compose the sections we’ve put together a list of Joining Words for you to use.
Education: Entries should be dated and placed in chronological order (starting with the most recent). Refer to your plan. Give a brief description of the course studied (add your grade if beneficial) and add a list beneath to illustrate points of interest
Career History: Entries should be dated and placed in chronological order (starting with the most recent). Refer to your plan. Give a brief description of your role within the company and add a list beneath to illustrate points of interests.
The final sections, ‘Skills & Qualifications’, ‘Hobbies & Interests’, and ‘References’, should be presented in a similar manner to the above. Your CV should be no longer than two pages (from picking your CV up, a recruiter should know within 20 seconds if they want to read more, a short CV packed full of information will ensure that the reader sees all of your key selling points straight away).
And that’s all there is to it! To help improve your confidence, why not send your new CV to friends and family for proof reading or if you want a professional opinion we are there for you. Just click to find out more details.
Good luck! Hope our how to write a CV section helps you get that job you REALLY want!