How to write a winning CV

Until you secure an interview to meet your potential employer face to face, your curriculum vitae (CV) is the only thing representing you as the best person for the job. That’s why it’s crucial to write the best CV you possibly can, to give you the best chance of a foot in the door.

We’ve put together some simple steps to work through to ensure your CV will make you stand out from the crowd.

Stick to the facts and tell the truth

Embellishing stories and telling porkies about your experience and qualifications will always lead to trouble.

Tell the truth and state the facts. If you still feel your CV is lacking, the only way around that is to get out and get the experience, do the jobs, earn the achievements so you can write them on your CV truthfully.

Shout about what makes you special

Approach your CV as your sales pitch between you (the business) and your potential employer (the customer). Sell yourself in the best light. Narrow down all the benefits you’ll bring to their company by really thinking about which one is the most important. Think about which of your skills or achievements will make you stand out above your competition.

If your potential employer receives lots of CVs, the likelihood is he or she will only spend a minute or two reading yours. Give them something interesting to read and get straight to the point.

Use bullets, keep your CV to two pages if possible and layout your benefits so they’re clear to see rather than buried in huge swathes of words. Sell yourself as the best version of you that you can possibly be.

Highlight your successes

Don’t just focus on the things that made you feel good – highlight how you improved your past employer’s sales figures, increased revenue, grew a brand. Potential employers want to find the person who will benefit their company the most and if you can demonstrate your success in this area, you’ll catch their eye.

Write your CV specifically for them

Writing a generic CV and sending it out scattergun is never a winning formula.

Read the job description for each position you apply for and tailor your CV to meet the requirements. This will make it as easy as possible for the employer to see how and why you’ll deliver results for their business.

Does the job description ask for the ability to work as part of a winning team? Highlight your experience of working with the top-performing team in your most recent role. Does it ask for experience in marketing? Tell them about your award for top marks in your post-graduate marketing diploma.

Spell it out for them, exactly how you would be perfect for the job.

Include a short section on hobbies and interests

While it may seem inconsequential that you sit on the committee of your local amateur dramatics group or made captain of your golf club last year, giving an insight into your life outside work will enable your potential employer to get to know the all-round you. They outline your ability to lead or partake with groups outside of a business setting.

Plus, these hobbies and interests could align with other team members’ or leaders’, placing you as a good choice for the job.

Keep your section about hobbies and interests short but relevant.

References

Potential employees generally require at least two references before offering a job. Include a short section stating your referees at the end of your CV but if you name them personally and one of them is your current employer, ensure they know you’re doing so before submitting your CV. Not informing them could lead to awkward conversations when they’re required to write a reference for you, and they didn’t know you were thinking of leaving.

If you’d rather not disclose their names at this stage, state that ‘Referees are available on request’.

 

If you need any support with writing your CV, give our team a call – we’d be delighted to help.