No, not really. I recommend producing a CV with a layout and structure that would suit the job or jobs you want to apply for. I see the CV as a number of sections which we would put together in a certain way – changing the emphasis as necessary so that the most important and relevant information is obvious and easy to see. I also recommend sending a covering letter with your CV, highlighting your particular strengths for the job. I can advise on a layout to suit your particular circumstances and help you construct an effective covering letter
Blog items and articles that cover or include information or advice on CVs.
Far too many CVs lack personality, verve and vitality.
These six steps will inject liveliness and enthusiasm into your CV and grab the attention of employers.
1. Layout: Clutter is claustrophobic. Make sure there is plenty of white space to allow your reader to ‘breathe’. Achieve this with clear headings, spacing between paragraphs and an open font (like this one). Bullet points are brilliant.
2. Lively words and phrases: use verbs and adverbs with movement and feeling. Say what you ‘enjoy’, ‘look forward to’, are ‘good at’, ‘find rewarding’, ‘have achieved’. This is a much livelier and more interesting way of writing about your work than merely stating what you do – such as ‘deal with’, ‘handle’, ‘administer’, ‘file’, ‘manage’.
3. KISS – the old adage Keep It Short and Simple: two pages is the maximum for a CV – one page is even better.
4. Use plain English: plain English is saying what you mean using short sentences, simple language and words with fewer syllables. It does not mean writing like a child but it does mean the reader can understand something the first time they read it. Your prospective employers will quickly read your CV on paper or on a screen – so make it easy for them. Use plain English and your CV will be crystal clear and concise.
5. Be relevant: we all have stories to tell – but your CV is not the place to tell them. Don’t give all the background – give the outcome or result. An employer is going to be interested in how you make a difference. If it’s a customer service job – write about how you improved customer service. If it’s a team leader’s job – write about how you increased the productivity and morale of your team.
6. Activities and Hobbies: we tend to use ‘safe’ outside interests – like reading, cinema, football – because we don’t want to be controversial. That’s sensible. You can, however, add detail to an interest that will catch someone’s eye and make them think of you as someone with a bit more about you. For example, ‘enjoy reading, particularly books on famous leaders’ or ‘enjoy running and am preparing for my first half marathon next month’ or ‘chair the school PTA and raised £5000 this year towards a new minibus’.
Follow these six steps and transform your CV! Good luck with your job hunting…
- I have had a break from working for five years while my children were little.
- For my next job interview I have to make a five-minute presentation. Will it be OK to use notes?
- I am a sole trader and have just become a member of a couple of business networks.
- I don’t think I want to see myself on video when I come for a practice interview – it’s going to make me feel worse – why do you suggest it?
- I am trying to get work for my business but my proposals are being rejected even though I know we could do the job really well? Have you any advice?
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