CV Writing Guide

Your CV is the single most important document you will ever write, and certainly not the easiest. It is a sales document; it has to “make the case” for you, yet portray your own style and personality. You could talk to 10 people and they will each tell you something different, so the advice I give to candidates is based on the questions my clients ask me of the candidates I present to them.

  1. A CV is best tailored to the individual requirements of a known job; a generic CV can work as long as it shows your skills and achievements in their best light.
  2. How much and how many? Clients want to know what benefit they will get for their money, your salary:-
    1. So what have you done?  And what was the (financial) benefit?
      1. How much in cash have you saved or sold?  A 30% increase in sales at your salary cost of £100k on a base of £3bn is fantastic, not so a 30% increase on sales of £100 at the same cost.
      2. What savings have you made, and from a base of what?  20% savings in costs from £2m at a cost of £200k is better than 20% savings on £100k at a cost of £50k.
  3. Apply the “so what” test and “says who” test to anything you write.
    1. So what……Means is that of any relevance or interest to a potential employer; for instance, a fascination with ironing and a hobby of collecting beer mats may best be kept a secret.
    2. Says who……Means any opinion you give of yourself is probably invalid.  Why would a reader value your high opinion of yourself; nobody is going to say they are “unemployable” on their own CV?
  4. Stick to the facts, make sure you tell only the truth, tell it accurately, get dates right, make sure referees are happy to give good references, you will be surprised by the number of poor references that are given.
  5. Put down what you actually did, don’t put down what happened whilst you were there, only what you caused. By that I mean, don’t claim the team or group benefit all for you, what was your part in the achievement?
  6. Be succinct. People get bored reading CVs, so make sure yours is easy to read, easy to understand, clear and concise.
  7. How many pages? Good Cvs can be two, three or four pages – depending on your achievements. Certainly, don’t pad out a CV.
  8. People remember a maximum of 3 things from a CV.  What are the 3 things that you want a reader to remember and how can they be brought out from your experience?

We offer a bespoke CV writing service, as you can imagine we know which CVs are successful!  Please ask for more details.

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