How long should my CV be? Do I really need to list all of my previous experience? Should I include my date of birth? What about…allow us to stop you there. At Recruitrite we know that writing a CV can be a confusing and overwhelming task, we’ve all been there. If you want to minimise the stress and pain of writing yours, read on…
With millions of CVs circulating the online world every day, knowing how to make your’s top quality is not just essential but crucial. And, if you’ve searched the web on this topic before, you’ll know that there is no shortage of blogs or resources to choose from to help.
At Recruitrite, we’ve seen a CV or two (it’s our job). With this in mind, and a handful of useful tips at our fingertips we have specifically designed this resource with you in mind so that you can ensure the first draft of your CV is the ‘right’ one.Download PDF
There are different opinions on the ideal length of a CV, but don’t exceed more than two A4 pages. Employers spend no longer than 30 seconds reviewing the information. Keep your CV as to the point as you can and be mindful of the number of pages that you produce. In this case, always think quality over quantity!
Let’s Break It Down: Your CV Checklist
Here’s our handy checklist to break down what a CV should contain if you don’t have the time to read our full resource. You should always aim to include:
Start off by creating a header for your CV, this section should be positioned at the top of the first page. Include your full name, professional title (if you have one) and contact details. Avoid tilting your CV as it’s pretty obvious what it is already, you’ll be taking up space if you do this. Use your full name as the title of your CV instead and go from there.
Plenty of people overcomplicate this section of their CV or end up writing in the third person which reads in an unnatural way. You should spend time ensuring that the content here is written well and portrays exactly who you are as a professional.
A personal statement is a very short paragraph (think 4-5 lines) that should be positioned underneath your name and contact details. Tailor your CV for each job that you apply for and highlight the qualities that you feel are applicable to the role. You can include the following:
If you are writing a CV to apply for a job that requires specialist skills, it may be useful to include a core skills section underneath your personal statement. Many people choose to do this in bullet format. Bullet points help to keep things simple and clear to the reader. Detail between four and five different skills for this section and refer to the job description to really tailor your CV.
As far as the content contained in a CV, this is the most important section. An employer will want to know about your employment history to judge whether you’re going to be a good fit for the bill or not. You can use this section to outline your previous jobs inclusive of internships and voluntary work (any experience is usually valuable!).
When writing your professional experience, list jobs in reverse chronological order. The most recent role that you’ve had is definitely the most relevant to the reader. Include the following points for each experience that you list:
You can either write 2-3 sentences for each or use a bullet method – it’s up to you. However, be wary of keeping your CV easy to read, too many words can make a page look cluttered. Using powerful language in this section really helps too.
Don’t include duties that aren’t relevant to the job that you’re applying for. Instead, opt to reduce the detail where appropriate. For example, this could be if you held a position for many years.
Again, this section should be in reverse chronological order as employers will want to know your most recent experience. Include the names of all the institutions and dates that you attended (universities, colleges and schools). Follow with the qualifications that you obtained.
There’s no need to go into lots of detail here, no employer wants to know about every module that you completed at university. You can, however, list modules or certain topics covered if you feel that they’ll add value to your CV. Otherwise, keep this section short and sweet.
If you don’t have a lot of professional experience yet, as many graduates don’t, you may want to add in a personal interests short paragraph to your CV. You can boost the content in your CV by giving the employer a little bit more information about yourself.
Though this section isn’t necessary it can help to give an impression of how you’d fit in with the company’s culture. It’s always great to be passionate about your interest or hobbies and this can be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate exactly how your interests are relevant to the role you’re applying for.
For this part of a CV, lots of people write “references available upon request” and this is perfectly okay to do. There was a point in time where adding referees to the end of a CV was standardised, this isn’t the case today.
There are no rules for formatting a CV and the design is totally down to you. Some people use their CV as a way to showcase their creative abilities, which can be suitable for roles in the design industry for example. Don’t go overboard though, less is definitely more most of the time.
Keep formatting consistent throughout all of the content that you write for your CV. This includes spacing, headings and fonts. The text needs to be easy to read and free of typos, a grammar check is always going to do wonders once you’ve finished writing.
Get your CV right from the outset and you’re going to land your dream job far more quickly. Remember that your CV is your chance to make a great first impression and secure yourself an interview. Use this resource by following the laid out steps and upload to see the results. You won’t be disappointed!