It is true, the first impression of you that any prospective new employer will get is from your Curriculum Vitae. Especially if you are applying online, or in response to an initial telephone inquiry. Here we provide some useful CV writing tips to get you started.
At Global Talent 2020, you can imagine the number of CVs we have collectively seen over the years, from all levels of the quality spectrum. This is sometimes not the fault of the authors, as there are a lot of conflicting messages out there, associated with CV formatting, what and what not to include and whether to keep your CV to one page or two, etc.
The reason the theory of keeping your CV to one, or two pages in length arose was that a lot of people subscribed to the idea that the reader of it, i.e. the hiring manager, decision-maker or recruiter, would be inundated with applicants and therefore would not have time to read lots of long documents, whilst searching for the most interesting, or relevant CV’s for short-listing for interviews.
To a degree, at Global Talent 2020, we agree with this aforementioned reason in essence, but, your CV needs to be tailored and reflective in its length and complexity, dependant on the role, and level you are applying for. For example, for a key leadership role like a General Manager, I would not advise a one page CV.
What we would advise, is that as a rule of thumb when composing your CV document, you stick to the following three “C”’s when writing, they are:
- Clear layout
What do we mean by clear layout?
The layout of your CV needs to be logical, easy to read/flow, and written in one eligible font style, and font size. Do not form tables, split the page, use different fonts to highlight different areas of your CV, or keywords/experience. There is a difference in making your CV stand-out, then making it look cluttered, chaotic, and potentially haphazard, (this subliminally might inform the reader of the CV that’s what you are like as a worker/as a personality). It needs to be similar to a formal letter you may receive yourself in its structured appearance. It gets your attention, as it is easy to read, and laid out in a linear way to lead you to the details, or points of the communication. The Layout starts centered with it being titled Curriculum Vitae, then your subheadings of the following; Name, Full postal Address (beneath to left-hand margin), then your Education, (including dates from – to, and academic achievements/courses taken), then Work-place/Industry courses/certifications, then Personal statement, then Career to date experience, (starting with most recent to last), then Additional information, (e.g. like how many languages are spoken), then Personal Interests (hobbies, charity work or similar).
What do we mean by content?
Content must always be truthful. You must never inflate your abilities, skills, experience, or the length of service worked somewhere. The information in your CV must be accurate, and also needs to be spell-checked and grammatically correct. If you are in the UK, then your CV needs to be in English grammar, not the USA adaptation of English. Content of what you include on the CV needs to be tailored to the role you are applying for, e.g. if applying for a Sales Manager role your CV needs to reflect your depth of selling prowess, successes, delivery against targets, relationships building skills and focus on highlighting these more, than perhaps culture, or administration skills. Dependant on the seniority and complexity of the job of the role you are applying for, the length of the CV should reflect it, however, another pointer is that really the last 5 to 7 years of your career really should be detailed in-depth as they are easily more memorable, and current. Any time spent prior to this, then choose highlights of an earlier career that help add depth of skills, areas of light/shade of self and illustrate other qualities about you. Regards Qualifications – generally keep it to the seat of learning – courses are taken/qualifications gained and dates from and to. The same with Workplace certifications. Additional skills – especially if you are multi-linguistic, then make sure you list the proficiency of each additional language you are able to converse in.
With interests – try to avoid listing things that involve all activities you undertake as things you do potentially could do alone, or in quiet, as this sometimes gives off that you are not sociable, or good at communication. e.g – Reading, Watching media, or listening to Music.
What do we mean by concise?
The way to write each job role tenure of your career is to give a brief synopsis of the role then bullet point the key achievements and responsibilities you carried out.
See the example content and layout example below:
Luxury Hotel Group PLC. May 2015 to Present.
General Manager, London, Oxford Street.
As GM I oversaw the daily running of a 5-star 250 roomed full serviced, luxury hotel based in the city center. Operating a two Michelin starred restaurant, three bars, conference and banqueting for up to 550Pax and world-renowned Spa and Leisure club with 25,000 members.
- Delivered annual turnover YoY profitability increase by ….
- Managed and delivered on budget YoY of £….
- Increased RevPar annually by…. %
- Successfully delivered a complete full hard/soft refurbishment of the property of £….
- Retained Michelin 2 star Restaurant status after reopening.
- Managed a team of 300, with 11 direct heads of department reports.
- For roles that involve fiscal, or financial control, gain or delivery management then these must always be at the start of your bullet points, as are likely the “deliverables” that will be most relevant of interest to the reader first of all for that role type. For a managerial or supervisory level role then you will need to put your leadership, team, and motivational skills more to the fore of your bullet points.
Note: how clean the layout is, content is eligible, logical, and concise in description value the example aforementioned is.
I hope these few pointers, and also some of our experience in CV’s comes across in the text above if you wish to ask us any more questions, or need some guidance on your CV, please do not hesitate to get in touch.