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How to write a CV – some top-tips on what your CV really says about you…

How to write a CV –  some top-tips on what your CV really says about you…

If your CV is your shop window, then the obvious question is ‘what are you selling’ and ‘are your
products on display?’
A little suggestive perhaps, but the truth is that as a recruiter, you spend no more than 10 seconds initially skim reading a CV, so as an applicant it is important that you take the time and the right approach working out how to write a CV. Here’s some top-tips on what your CV really says about you and what might stop you getting shortlisted for that all important job you need.

Don’t make us guess

I had recently written a piece where I said that a Graduate should treat their first CV with as much respect as the dissertation they had to write at University. This can be said for anyone, at any stage of their work-life and a CV should be treated with respect and love, as
ultimately it is your history on 2-3 pages. Applicants often assume that a recruiter can second guess what a CV might be saying. The amount of times a candidate would turn around to me and complain they had not been shortlisted for a role and say ‘Well I have done that’ or ‘I have got experience in that’. Don’t assume a recruiter can mind read! If you have done it, GET IT ON YOUR CV! There is no point complaining you didn’t get shortlisted for a role if your CV is second rate.

Being Clever with the Truth

If you think you are being clever with the truth, think again! Recruiters are not slow to pick up on a few typical traits that give us a few clues about who you really are. For example…

Any Old Job – Customer Service Advisor –  2008 – 2009

What is wrong with the above? Well the above could actually equal Nov 2008 – Feb 2009. Rather then
potentially representing 2 years worth of experience, this candidate actually has approx 4 months experience in this role. Sadly we would picked up on this all the time. A recruiters job is to confirm exact dates of employment anyway. If a recruiter doesn’t then certainly the Company will, when they take references on you, once a job offer has been made. Don’t try and get away with this, as 9 out of 10 times you will end up with egg on your face.

The same Personal Profile, irrespective of job application…

But I hear you say, “How would a recruiter know its the same personal profile?”

Because applicants leave traces of old job applications in their ‘profile’ that are telling and helpful in shortlisted a candidate for a role. I have known some candidates to dig themselves a massive hole as they just do not update what they are saying. Common Examples include:

– Forgetting that the last job that you applied for was a six month contract role and stating that this is perfect as you are going travelling the next Summer. At the same time, applying through me for a long term permanent position!

– Stating in your ‘Profile’ that your ideal career is in Fashion….when the job you are applying for is a Permanent Bank Cashier. Although your passion might be fashion, its like telling your new Boyfriend you really fancy his best mate; your just not going to be seen as a long term prospect! Remember – we need to put forward applicants that we are confident will be in the job for the ‘long haul’ as its our reputation on the line as well.

– Also by highlighting your real passion, it shows you have been applying for other jobs, and other jobs that you would rather have!

Not Caring! 
How can someone not care about their CV? This is your opportunity to tell an employer what you are all about. However most examples of ‘not caring’ are things that maybe from first glance you might not see, and that is why it is important that you check, check and then check again. As I mentioned earlier, a recruiter spends no more than 10 seconds looking at a CV – that is 10 seconds for you to get it right! So here are a few examples of things that we see on CV’s that could show a lack of respect for the application process:

– Talking of old jobs in the present! Usually this means that you are simply updating an old CV and you have not bothered to change your old jobs into past tense.

– Speling Misstakes – no xcuses – (see what I did there)

– Handing in a CV with a handwritten update at the top of the CV. Seriously – how interested are you in a new job?

– Using the same job duties for each job. Even if this is the case – try and think creatively with the language you use to make sure that your CV reads better…..

How to write a CV? We hope that this post has helped you in how to write a CV that stands out – and makes you think about what your CV really says about you. Please comment below if you have any other tips on how to write a CV…

CV ready to go? Why not send it to the professionals and get a free CV review before you send it to the employer or recruiter?




  1. […] How to write a CV – some top-tips on what your CV really says about you… […]

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