Your CV is the one of the most important documents you’ll produce throughout your career, so try to make it count! We understand that writing a CV might seem like a daunting task, however, all you really need to do is provide a polished, professional description of your work experience, education and skills. This alone will give you an edge over the dozens of other qualified applicants and get your foot in the company door.
Here is the basic outline for what to include in a CV:
- Personal Details
- Personal Statement
- Work Experience
Page one should always include your personal details such as your home address, contact telephone numbers and email address.
Include an overview statement outlining your strengths and achievements in the relevant areas along with any skills and experience gained within the same or similar type of position.
You should always start with your most recent position first and continue in reverse order. For each position held, briefly describe responsibilities and work undertaken. You should aim to include achievements not just tasks.
Each professional position that you’ve had must include at least one statement of accomplishment. For your current and recent positions, you may want to have several bulleted items under the job that lists your most significant experiences.
These should be included after your job history starting with your most recent.
Any voluntary, charity work or external posts you hold are worth including. Always include any languages, courses or training you may have done, or any professional memberships. List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines, and only if they are relevant to the position in question.
While the structure of your CV might change depending on your line of work or type of experience, the same basic tenets will hold true no matter the position you’re applying for.
The Skills you hold are one of the most important factors in employer’s recruitment demands. Below are the key skills that should be included in your CV:
Reading or writing related skills – This means being able to digest written information and present it in written form as well.
Computer skills – If you have aptitude with computers and common office programmes then consider this to be a transferable skill.
Management experience – If you have managed people before then you could transfer this experience to benefit another type of employer.
Commercial skills – People who can negotiate and handle figures like turnover and gross profit often possess the sort of business acumen which is sought after in many organisations.
Deadline success – Being able to work to deadlines is something that doesn’t happen in all jobs, but if you are used to it then this is a key transferable skill desired in many companies.
Of course there are other types of transferable skills. Think of them as aptitudes that can function equally well in multiple industrial sectors. Mention them in your CV as you have picked them up throughout your employment history.
Job-related key skills
Brick laying – Although many construction firms need brick laying skills, it is unlikely you will be able to use this skill to find work outside of the building sector.
Nursing skills – Being a qualified nurse shows you have certain transferable skills like being caring or organised, but nursing itself is a job-related skill which only really works in the healthcare sector.
Mechanical engineering – Being able to work and repair engines is a job-related skill. It may mean you can transfer into related sectors but probably only within similar roles unless you have other transferable skills to offer.
Accountancy qualifications – Bookkeeping and accountancy roles are on offer within a wide range of organisations which presents plenty of job choice. However, this job-related skill narrows down that choice to certain types of jobs only.
Team working – Not everyone is a team player, but team working is an important adaptive skill that many employers are looking for.
Loyalty – Been in your job for a long time and seen it through thick and thin? This is an adaptive skill to mention on your CV.
Positivity – If you are the sort of person who sees the glass as half full and not half empty, then this shows your positivity. Employers tend to favour positive people so mention this as an adaptive skill.
Creativity – Some jobs cry out for creative people. If you paint, play music or are even good at telling jokes, then this may show off your creative skills.
Adaptability – Being flexible is something we all need in the workplace from time to time, but some are better at it than others so don’t discount your adaptability as a skill.
Tenacity –Taking ownership of problems and seeing them through is a key skill in many organisations. If you can demonstrate this from your past career, then include it on your CV.
Although adaptive skills may seem like the least important ones to mention because they are not specific to the job you are applying for, they can often mark you out from another candidate. Don’t overlook the importance of your blend of adaptive skills which is as unique as you are.
Be proud of the skills that you have and see each and every one as a way to progress in your career. Remember that you want your CV to be read and responded to. Include enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader, keep it simple, relevant and to the point ideally using a maximum of two pages.
Finally make sure you re-read your CV paying close attention to your spelling and grammar. Nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than easily preventable mistakes. Why not ask another person to proof a final copy.