CV writing advice and tips

Your CV is possibly the most personal and powerful document you will ever create. If you would like to write your own CV – here are some useful tips to get you started:

Discard Old CVs

Things change, competition is fierce, a fresh start will rejuvenate your CV. Clinging on to historic CVs could weigh your CV down with outdated phrases and unnecessary content.

Self Discovery

The purpose of your CV is to get you to interview stage (not to get you a job – that is what interviews are for) and to achieve this, it is vital that your CV clearly shows the amazing qualities, skills, accomplishments and successes that make you unique.  If you don’t, you risk your CV being ordinary. And the only place for ordinary in job searching is at the bottom of the pile. So, before you start to write your CV, take some time to reflect on how wonderful you are and what you are offering an employer.

The following questions may help you:

  • What do people love about me?
  • What things do I do best?
  • What have I accomplished in my life (work and otherwise)?
  • What qualities did I show in achieving these things?

Smarty Pants Tip: in doing this, you are also helping yourself prepare for interview, because you won’t use all the material gathered here, you will be able  to hold some back for interview; particularly useful for when having to answer questions such as ‘What can you bring to this position? What are your strengths? What are your greatest achievements?’

Information Gathering

Gather together all your facts such as Training, Education, Employment and Experience.
You may be tempted to copy wording from old job descriptions but try to avoid this as it could make your CV sound dull and only proves that you did the job. What the employer wants to know is – were you any good at your job? It is therefore important to let the employer know that you performed your role exceptionally well.

Smarty Pants Tip: Instead of listing job ‘duties’ for each job you have had, consider what you did well or accomplished. 

For example:
Instead of writing: “Working on reception and answering the telephone”

If you were good at this, you could transform this sentence into: “Responding to all incoming calls in a professional and friendly manner; making sure customers received the best possible service from the moment they called”

Write your lovely new CV

If you can, pick a time when you feel great about yourself as your enthusiasm will come through in your writing. There are no strict ‘rules’ about CVs, despite what others may tell you! For example, some people are adamant that your CV should be written in the third person, others will be equally adamant that it should be written in the first person – neither person is wrong or right. You need to have confidence in assessing your own information and making a decision about the style in which you write it.  Our advice is to remember that you are writing it for the employer, not yourself so it has to be clear, informative, consistent in style and interesting.

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