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Recruitment advice: Building a strong CV

Recruitment advice: Building a strong CV

It can be daunting building a strong CV for job applications—especially since there’s so many opinions on how to do it ‘just right’.

Today, I’m delving into how anyone can write a polished, professional CV. I’ve also asked our Recruitment Consultants working here to share their CV tips. First, let’s talk appearances. In the case of your CV, presentation is really important. A CV explains to your potential employer why you’d be a valuable choice for their company. You’re essentially selling you, the potential employee, as a product to them. Because of this, you’re going to want to make sure you’re very clear. Nothing about the CV should be a mystery to the viewer. I asked our recruiters to tell me what they look for in a CV.

The top things our recruiters want to see:
  • Clean layout
  • No grammar or spelling errors
  • Black and white
  • Simple
  • Up to Date contact information
  • Concise (‘Not one page but definitely not 10 pages”)
  • Approximately 1 paragraph of text about each place you’ve worked
  • No logos
  • No links

We want to create a CV that is legible, accessible, and simple. This doesn’t mean boring, dull or unappealing. A CV is one of the ways you can differentiate yourself from the crowd—and that doesn’t mean using comic sans or cursive font, it means making sure your content and appearance are pristine.

With the goal of both sleek and simple in mind, let’s move forward onto the content. Brainstorm answers to these questions, taken from our free download Build the Perfect CV:

  • Turning points in your career?
  • What have you really contributed?
  • What will each organization remember you for?
  • What new skills and experiences did you gain in each role?

Make a really solid list for yourself. Next, focus on the framework to showcase your content. Choose whether to highlight your degree if you attended a well-known university, or to highlight another aspect of your experience. For each company you were with, list your role and the dates worked (as long as you were not hopping quickly from one position to another!) You can briefly describe your role and impact within the company in one sentence.

Once your content is complete, it’s time to put it all together. As our guide states, think about things you’ve done that you’d want to draw attention to including 'international experience, leadership of very large teams, or management of very large budget among other experiences'. Begin to put together bullet points for each of your positions, keeping it concise and clear. Approach with a focus on the things you achieved, the skills you acquired, and the changes you made at the organization you worked with.

A good rule of thumb is to use six interesting, concise and ‘punchy’ bullet points per role and to avoid jargon that only your coworkers would be familiar with. After all your hard work, it’s time to edit and refine your CV. Keep in mind that you want anyone who looks at your CV to know that you were outstanding in your role and that you made it your own.

Check in with yourself if you are communicating this through your words and layout, and when the answer is a resounding yes, your CV is ready to go.