CVs … How to WRITE them and how to READ them!

Having often been engaged to assist with the selection process, it baffles me to see how people write and present their CVs. Bluster and bravado can often sway the reader with little supporting evidence!

Consequently I thought I’d write this feature on putting a CV together and in the same vain, how to read them.

To begin, consider it from the employer’s point of view, write in the sense of ‘You’ rather than the ‘I’. They have a situation they need resolved so spouting on about how marvellous YOU are is not going to win them over! Sell yourself by showing how you can remove the problems. Insure your cover letter and CV also flows in the same consistent manner.

Another area all too frequently missed is Evidence Based examples. It’s all very well stating you created a stock system that reduced purchases but what effect did this have? Adding “Subsequent profits increased by 6.7% as a result” substantiates organisational benefits.

HAVE MORE THAN ONE CV! I can’t believe how many CVs I’ve read that have no bearing on the job! Someone working as a Technician applying for an Office Administrators role is fine but don’t preach about the technical things you studied under a microscope when filing or sourcing material is what is required.

Look for examples in your current and previous roles that support your application and mention them throughout your employment history and professional summary (to follow). You may be looking for a more technical role/person, again, the CV should illustrate throughout examples of what you have done that supports your application

Here are 8 Top Tips which will be written in the context of someone applying for a post. Those looking to employ should equally consider the importance to see if they have applied themselves or if it’s just a case of throwing out CVs!

  • Contact Details – Centred at the top of your CV, name first in Bold to stand out, then your address and contact details such as mobile, telephone, email and web site if you have one.
  • Professional Summary – This is where you sell yourself! Keep it brief encouraging the need to read all of the CV. Tailored for the post advertised, check what the criteria normally is for these positions. Summarise how the organisation will benefit from taking you on.
  • Achievement – Create a library of as many achievements you have done throughout life/career then select two or three from this list that are pertinent to the role and place them in your CV.
  • Employment History – It’s critical to insure there is ‘Evidence Based’ material. Do not list out what you did in a job, that’s no different from a job description! Prove you can do it by adding a few words on the end showing HOW the employer benefitted and start with your most recent post at the top.
  • Courses/Skills – Bullet pointed as they back up what has been mentioned earlier. Add in other skillsets that will help in a given role. Ie, if administrative, words per minute typed. If rural area, passed driving licence etc
  • Education – For Secondary & College results, list as such with grade achieved. For University Degrees, include a succinct outline of skills developed that are relevant to this role.
  • Interests – Do NOT simply put down you like reading, going to the cinema, socialising with friends or the like…boring! This is about YOU, expand, ie “I like Mystery/Crime novels, favourite being Lincoln Rhymes series by Jeffery Deaver”, “Playing 5-aside football every Thursday”, “Experiment badly in the kitchen with Italian cuisine” etc
  • References – Put two references, avoiding ‘Available on request’! This shows your answers are open and happy to be checked. Include Name, Job title, Company name, Address, Telephone number and email. Attempt to put down someone in your existing role but stipulate “Do not contact until after a job offer has been made”.

Run through a spell check and read through twice. Ask someone else to read as they will read it differently than you.

If reading as an employer, grab a highlighter pen and detach yourself emotionally. As you go through, highlight areas you wish them to expand upon or requiring clarity. A red pen is a great tool to make notes too!

Copied and pasted CVs show no real effort put in and you know what, they are disregarded straight away. It is difficult and very time consuming to read through all the different jobs, having to write different CVs for each and every one, however, if you’re smart, you’ll create two or three CV templates that are suited to the prevalent roles and have a library of achievements that will be pertinent to certain positions that you can then create bespoke CVs.

Coaching to Success specialise in Career Coaching whether it be employers looking to recruit or individuals seeking employment, for further information, contact Neil directly on 07761 187238 or email to have a confidential discussion or meeting to see how we can help you find that right job or employee.