Helpful Tips & Advice For Your CV

Ask for advice from HM Staffing

We are here to help and advice. We can assist you in tailoring your CV for each job you apply for. We will be able to tell you if we think your CV is too long (or too short) or if it doesn’t cover important areas with right kind of information.

Add a personal profile in the head of your CV

A good CV isn’t just a list of dates and achievements. It’s your opportunity to present yourself, what you’re about, what you’ve done with your life, what you’ve achieved, what you plan to achieve…. Write a clear, succinct paragraph at the head of your CV introducing yourself. Say what you want people to know about you and why they should be talking to you. This sets the scene for how the rest of your CV is read and understood.

Have a clear structure – Divide your CV up into sensible bite-size chunks: employment history, education and professional training, key career or personal achievements. Don’t allow your reader to get lost in the detail. Make sure everything is relevant. Don’t leave glaring gaps. Make the experience of reading about your brilliant life as easy and engaging as it can be.

Reverse chronology

What you’ve been up to most recently is likely to be the most interesting thing you have to say. And will almost certainly be what your employer will pay most attention to. Likewise the higher the level of your qualification the more likely you are to impress with it. So put these at the top of each section and work backwards in decreasing levels of details.

Keep it succinct: no large blocks of text or unnecessary personal details – Don’t include your full home address and multiple email addresses or phone numbers on a CV. They’re not required. Don’t produce large walls of text that weary the eye. Bullet points are often the best way to deal with each new job, skill or key achievement.

Make it age and experience appropriate – If this is your first job your GCSE grades are more likely to be interesting to a potential employer than if you have a long career history before you. Use common sense. More is often less. Remember all detail should earn its place on your CV – and in the reader’s attention. They’ll have a lot to get through…

Make it professional

Avoid using your personal jokey email address. Stick with Word. Check rigorously for spelling and grammar mistakes. Use a font that doesn’t assault the eyes. Check for pagination on the last draft to make sure that extra example of excellence you’ve just added hasn’t ended up with section titles at bottom of pages. Make sure dates and figures make sense. At the end proofread. And proofread again.

A good CV is usually accompanied by a good cover letter

Again HM Staffing will be able to advise on writing this. As a rule of thumb, a cover letter says why you want the job and are well suited to it, a CV gives the evidence to back that up. Think about your CV in that way when you write it and you’ll produce clearer documents that play the right role in getting you the job.

The cover letter and your CV shouldn’t just be duplicates of each other: they both have a specific job to do. Make sure your CV is optimised for the jobs – and each job – you’re applying for – Different jobs call for different skills, levels of experience and qualifications. Make sure your CV clearly and accurately highlights that you’ve got those.

Note your achievements and their impact

Your CV shouldn’t be a long list of reasons why you’re great, even if you are. An achievement without context, that didn’t lead to something being better happening, is empty bragging. If you created a new process, explain – succinctly and quantifiably if possible – how that led to specific improved results for the company.

Keep it personal: avoid management speak, exaggeration and cliche

Your CV is about your life. Keep it authentic. Use clear, industry standard language that will understandable to everyone. But avoid talking in cliches and what you think is impressive management speak. It usually isn’t. An ability to reflect on your career and achievements and talk about them intelligently is much more impressive.

Don’t leave unexplained gaps

If you have gaps on your CV over periods when you’ve been travelling, studying or training, caring for a friend or relative, dealing with physical or mental health issues – be upfront. You know you’re good enough to do this job. Be proud and honest about who you are and your life experience. If your potential employer has issues with your life experiences and choices maybe this really isn’t the right job for you.

Keep it truthful

We all know the jokes about lying on your CV to get a job. The reality is likely to turn out very different. Imagine that your CV is going to be scrutinised closely – really closely. Any potential lie is likely to stand out and be taken up with you – or even your referees. A potential employer will forgive you for not being perfect. They will not forgive you for trying to deceive them.

Use you CV to engage interest in you as a potential employee – Remember your CV alone is highly unlikely to get you the job: that’s what the interview is for. Your CV is one of the key ways in which you’ll get that interview. It’s a stage in a process, but a crucial one. You can’t – and shouldn’t attempt to – say everything about yourself on your CV. Use it to show you are a – very – serious – candidate for the role with the necessary skills, experiences and qualities your future employer will need. Clarity and concision are key.