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Our top 4 CV writing tips

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Leanne Ganley CV Writing, Job Searching

It’s not unusual for companies to sift through hundreds of CV's.

So, how do you make yours stand out amidst the paperwork overload? These four CV-writing tips are easy to implement, and will maximise your chance of being called for interview:

1. List personal achievements in the context of company achievements

Many CVs that come into our inbox will list a period of employment at a company with an explanation along the lines of: ‘Company grew from a turnover of £10 million to £20 million during my tenure.’ This doesn’t give potential employers any insight into how you, the employee, performed in the context of that growth. Instead, say how you made a difference to what the company achieved. For example: ‘I redesigned a product so it was applicable to new markets, giving the sales team access to an entirely new profile of customer.’

2. Focus on punchy, remarkable interests outside of work

The key to the personal section of your CV is to show you’re an interesting person to work with – that you’re a friendly and engaging person to be around. A generic list like ‘Piano, cinema, running’ doesn’t achieve that. Instead, focus on something:

  • You’ve been doing for years and have improved at, and/or
  • New you’ve tried, to show you’re not stuck in a rut

You also want to be specific about the things you’re passionate about. Rather than saying ‘Trekking and overseas travel’ say ‘Summited Kilimanjaro’ or ‘Skydived from 25,000 feet.’ Our brains are wired to latch on to stories, and the better the story you tell the better the reader will remember you.

3. Make your summary profile a true elevator pitch

The summary profile at the top of your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself. Don’t just be descriptive – in three to five sentences prove why you can do the job. Avoid generic statements like ‘I work well in a team or on my own.’ Instead be specific about what you can do for the employer. ‘I have 10 years’ experience in automotive design, with a track record of designing out costs to increase profit margins.’

4. Focus on how you’re applying your skills right now, and how you’re going to use them in future

Employers don’t really care what you did five years ago. They overwhelmingly focus on what you are doing now. You are selling yourself to the employer – they want to know what they are getting and how you will help them achieve success if you join the company. Thus, use the bulk of your CV to focus on your achievements in your current role rather than devoting lots of space to previous positions.

For further advice and support, check out our resources or watch the video below: