5 quick tips for cv writing

Daniel Nightingale, Business Manager for the polkadotfrog branch in Peterborough discusses his top tips for writing a CV.

For most people, writing a CV is no easy task and something so important should not be a 5 minute job. Where do you start? How many pages should it be? These are often questions asked from candidates who come to me for advice.

Viewing CV’s is something I do on a daily basis. I would say that I view 20+ CV’s per day in my current position. My consultants are viewing a lot more than that, but in my years of Recruitment experience, I have come across all sorts of CV’s.

So please read below for 5 useful tips on CV writing. I am aware that different backgrounds, qualifications and industries will sometimes determine a different CV, but in terms of structure, follow these simple tips which will add in development of one of the most important things you will ever have to write.

I will happily send a CV Template to help you see an example of a well-structured CV.

Bullets points instead of paragraphs:

This is the most common thing I see within CV’s today. There is nothing wrong with a paragraph about your experience in a role, but I have personally found that a list of bullet points with your job duties on is always easier to write and more importantly, read.

HR Managers/Decision Makers/Recruiters find it easier to read your CV with the bullet point structure in place. If they then like what they see in terms of your job duties and experience then who knows, they may pick up the phone to you, then you can go into more detail.

Don’t rush it! It’s important!

Inconsistency in a CV is not something that people are keen on when reading. It could be that you have rushed your CV, it lacks structure or you just haven’t paid attention. A good CV takes time and so it should, it’s an important document. Examples of things to be mindful of when being consistent:

  • Font & font size
  • Spaces between Jobs
  • Job Title, Company, Dates of Employment (stick to same structure on each job)

Chronological order

9 out of 10 people may question why this is a top tip? But for the other 1 person, it does need to be mentioned. Your most recent/current position should be the first job under your ‘employment history’ section of your CV. Most people, recruiters/decision makers, will be looking for your most recent job as that is where the most recent experience will be. It also helps to create that important structure previously mentioned.

More than 2 pages? It’s fine, don’t panic!

There seems to be this common theme that a CV should not be beyond 2 pages long. If a recruiter is asking for a 2 page CV, it’s likely that they might be recruiting for numerous roles at once, for example Warehouse Operatives, Call Centre Advisors or Pickers and Packers. But for someone who is looking to progress in a career or looking for a specific role, proof that their experience is relevant to the job they want is imperative. The more experience and exposure that matches the advert or job description, the better.

Main Achievements

This is something commonly missed in a CV but can add tremendous value depending on the role you’re going for. Having a ‘main achievement’ area at the end of each recent role signifies to a future employer that you’re aware of your value you’ve brought to a role and that you’re proud of particular places you have worked. Examples of structuring this in your CV are on my free CV template, but here are a few examples:

  • £150,000 of revenue gained in Add ons sales
  • Received the Customer Service award for March 2017
  • Implemented a new filing system which has saved the company £1000+
  • Managed and trained a team of 8 staff

All of these are good examples, but these are personal to you. What were you proud of in a particular job you had? Don’t undersell yourself!

Whether you’re a Finance Director or a Receptionist looking to change your career, writing a CV isn’t always natural. Let us have a look and we can provide feedback that could get you that dream job.

My colleagues and I are more than happy to give free CV advice to you. If you contact me on LinkedIn or email daniel.nightingale@polkadotfrog.co.uk with your current CV. I’ll send across our CV template.

Final Thought

This may sound cheesy, but think of your CV as a movie trailer for a film you want a decision maker/recruiter/HR person to see. Don’t go into too much detail and give it all away, that’s what an interview is for. Instead, give them the information they want to see and make it look presentable. If they like what they see, they will contact you about that dream job.