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How to write a good CV: style guide

Many years ago I was told that it takes two seconds to look at a CV to decide if a person is suitable or not for a vacancy. This was well before the recession and when there weren't such high volumes of people applying for each role - it could be worse now!

Your CV is your pitch document for you. It needs to sell your skills and expertise.

Companies will decide if you are right for a role based on this CV – take your time to make sure you get it right.

When a company is presented with lots of CV's they look for reasons to exclude rather than include.
Make it easy for them to put you in the 'yes' pile with a clear, precise CV that is easy to read in a language style that is easy to understand. Don't use lots of acronyms that are unique to your previous experience. Don't use small text to cram information in. Think about spacing on the CV, so it looks clear and use some bold type in headings to make it more interesting. Creative candidates can add a little creativity but please don't go mad.

The most important information they will want to read is your current or most recent employment, so write your CV in chronological order from recent to past. Get your latest employment on the first page. This should be the longest description, unless the recession has meant you have had to make a career detour, in which case explain this & make your most relevant experience more detailed.

Jobs you had over 10 years ago only need basic information. If your career has been at lots of places just make sure the descriptions are larger in the experience that is relevant for the role you are aiming for.

Ensure dates follow on correctly and any gaps are explained.

Do not put a photo on - this is so 80's.

Double check there are no spelling and grammar errors as this could cost you the job. It'll be a reason to reject you.

Here's how I read a CV: what job has the person done, where have they worked, where do they live, does the background fit my client's requirements. If it does match I then read the profile and the recent relevant job and decide 'yes' or 'no' to interview. Obviously, for creative candidates, skills and ability are assessed based on their portfolio of work as well.

Here is an example of how to write a CV and a basic style guide. Try to keep your CV to two pages but for more experienced candidates this may need to go into three.

Education: Put this at the end and keep it short. You could just put qualifications rather than the places you studied. If you are early in your career then you usually need to add more info here.

References: I suggest you put available on request, rather than listing names as this lets you control who and when your referees are called.

Hobbies: Personal preference whether you add this. I personally don't read them but they can be used as an icebreaker in an interview situation.

These notes area just intended as a guide on how to write a CV. Unfortunately it doesn't guarantee interviews but might help point you in the right direction.

Ann Downs
Green Shoots Recruitment 01386 871414
www.greensr.co.uk | ann@greensr.co.uk

CV Example

Name
Address XXX
Address XXX
Address XXX
Email: XXX
Telephone: Mobile – XXX Home – XXX

PROFILE

The profile section of your CV includes your main skills. You should keep this as short and concise as possible, do not go into lengthy descriptions of your skills. This gives the reader to get a quick overview of your skills. This should be a good paragraph but remember you want to get that relevant experience on this first page so keep it shortish.

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Company name | Job Title | Date

This is what is usually read first so make it clear to read, understand. This is your most recent career, it should be your longest and most detailed description. You could use paragraphs or bullet points or a mixture of both. Keep it clear to the point, write it language style that is easy to understand, don't use lots of Acronym.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Company name | Job Title | Date

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Company name | Job Title | Date

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Company name | Job Title | Date

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Company name | Job Title | Date

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla iaculis consequat erat a pharetra. Nam vitae consequat enim. Aliquam a venenatis nulla. Ut elit lacus, rhoncus ac lacinia id, blandit in diam. Etiam in erat at massa dapibus egestas. Sed ac neque velit, quis vestibulum urna. Maecenas ante erat, elementum ut pulvinar nec, lobortis vitae dui.

Education

Qualifications depends how many you have and how much space you have as to whether you put these vertically or horizontally across the page.

References

Available on request

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