How to write a CV

A lot of people think that it is easy to write a CV. And, it is indeed pretty easy to write a basic, or even average CV.

However, today's job market is highly competitive, so much so that a good CV (let alone a basic one) often isn't enough these days. What you really need is a top quality CV if you are to have the advantage over your competitors.

And this is far easier said than done.

Please see below for more advice on how to write a CV.

Advice and top tips on how to write a top-quality CV

1> Get the Presentation Right

First, of all it needs to be presentable because CV presentation and first impressions count.

You therefore need to consider CV layout, and if design is not your forte then it may be an idea to use a CV template. Please note that quality of CV templates varies enormously, and some are far better than others. There is no value whatsoever in applying for jobs with a CV which just doesn't look the part. Use a substandard or free CV template and your CV could well go straight in the bin.


Whet the Employer's Appetite Right from Word Go

There are usually many applications for the same job. If your CV doesn't look the part, or is too long then it could be discarded on that basis alone. However, once you have passed the first hurdle then you soon hit another minefield; namely getting into the employer's head and telling him/her what he/she wants to hear. All of this is far easier said than done. Firstly, most people don't know what the employer wants to hear, and secondly, even if they do, then they don't know the best way to say it.

People often talk about CV wow factors. However, the concept as a whole is somewhat vague and for many jobseekers, potentially counter-productive. Click for more information on this.

You need to remember that employers are far more interested in people who tell them exactly what they want to hear, rather than those people who try to force the issue by artificial means. So first and foremost on your CV you need a sharp, pertinent, concise and highly proactive/powerful personal profile.

Some people use objectives statements instead of a profile. However, they are less effective, and carry much less weight with employers than well-written, relevant and persuasive profiles.


Sell Yourself

It sounds obvious, and most people know they need to sell themselves on a CV.

However, regardless of how obvious it is, the fact remains that pretty much everyone undersells themselves on their CV. Even people in professions you would think would be good at writing CVs frequently don't sell themselves anywhere near enough, or anywhere near as much as they could or should. This includes senior level people in recruitment, HR, communications, sales and marketing.
Just because someone sells something for a living, or works in recruitment it doesn't necessarily make them a good writer, and it doesn't necessarily mean they know how to get into the employer's mind and sell their skills to the optimum on paper.

So how do you sell yourself?

Well part of it comes from you, what you have done in your career, and how it relates to the job you are targeting.
The other part comes from how you put it all together. Many people make lots of mistakes when they write a CV. Some people only scratch the surface when it comes to selling themselves, whereas others go in the opposite direction and overcomplicate matters.

When sales and marketing companies try to sell a product they have a strong, clear and focused strategy. As daunting as this may sound, this is exactly what you need when you write your CV too.

Of course, it is far from easy. Indeed, it is a specialist skill, which is one reason why people from all sectors, and at all levels, engage the services of professional CV writers to give them an advantage over their competitors.


Make Sure That Your CV is Well Balanced and Captures the Imagination

A lot of CVs are very one-dimensional. Whilst this isn't the be all and end all, it doesn't help matters if your CV is basic, repetitive or just plain boring. People often lose sight of the fact that employers want more than just experience in a particular skill set. Employers want people, real people, with real personal traits and individual attributes. And not just any traits, characteristics and attributes; but the right ones just for them! After all, different employers look for different skills, competencies and personal characteristics.

Again, all this can be a bit of a minefield, and goes beyond the realms of this article, but just bear in mind that you need to engage with the employer, and not only tell him/her what he/she wants to hear, but do it in a way that is interesting, builds up a picture of you, and portrays you not only in your best light, but your best light relevant to the job in question.

Yes, this is far from easy, and there is no getting away from that. However, I did warn you at the top of this article that CV writing is far easier said than done!


Don't Cut Corners, Take Shortcuts or Underestimate the Value of Your CV

Your CV is the most important weapon you have in your job hunting armoury. So it stands to reason that you should treat it as such.

Amazingly however, thousands, or even millions of people worldwide seriously underestimate the value of their CV. And rather than giving it the time, care and attention it needs to get them their ideal job, they instead cut corners, take shortcuts and effectively send out applications with a CV which doesn't sell themselves to the maximum. Indeed, some people spend as little as one or two hours working on what is actively the most important, influential and valuable document they possess in their life.

There is little doubt that some people reading this right now will have missed out on good jobs, not because they weren't the best candidate, but because they didn't have the best CV.

So how do you get the best CV?

Well the simple answer to that is to get the best CV writer to write it for you. At the same time, you get what you pay for, and the best writers do not come cheap. I fully realise that not everyone has the desire, conviction or means to engage a top professional, and if you fall in this category then I would suggest you follow the above advice, and also click on some of the other links in this

CV writing

section. As mentioned, you should also avoid cutting corners or taking shortcuts. You also need to be extremely meticulous when you are writing your CV, and even things like spelling, grammar and minor formatting count. At the same time, while things like spelling and grammar are important, they are just a tiny piece in the complex and enigmatic jigsaw that is a

curriculum vitae


About this article's author

This original article on how to write a CV is based on extracts from a curriculum vitae book by Paul Hichens who is our head CV consultant, and the specialist who developed our own unique brand of highly effective CV writing techniques

Reproduction is prohibited without prior consent.

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