THE 9 RULES TO WRITING A GOOD CV
RULE 1: TAKE YOUR TIME
A good CV will give you more chance of getting the interviews for the job you want. A few hours invested in your career now will repay you 1000s of times over.
Unless every job you apply for has identical requirements, each CV you send should be different. So take the time to write a good base version, a template which you can quickly and easily tailor to suit each job you apply for.
RULE 2: 20 SECONDS
Imagine you are the recruiter! You have had a stressful day and now have 100 CV’s to read through!
If you take 1 minute to quickly scan every CV thats the best part of two hours. Having carefully read the first few, enthusiasm wanes. By CV number 10 the eyelids start to close and you begin looking for easy reasons to reject the candidate. By CV 20 you are praying for some relevance to strike you – quickly – rather than having to dig for it hidden in the work history somewhere.
FTLOG, give me a CV that grabs my attention and ticks the right boxes – QUICKLY!
CAPTURE ATTENTION WITHIN 20 SECONDS
RULE 3: AIR
1st impressions count. Make it clean, clear, airy and simple to find the relevant information. QUICKLY!
RULE 4: FLOW
A logical flow to your CV makes it easier to read and adds another level of differentiation.
RULE 5: RELEVANT
You may read this elsewhere! THE MOST COMMON REASON AN APPLICATION DOES NOT PROGRESS TO AN INTERVIEW IS BECAUSE THE EXPERIENCE IS NOT RELEVANT!
With 20 seconds to grab their attention, get the most ‘RELEVANT-TO-THEM’ information across within that timescale.
Do you want them spending that time reading where you live, your marital status, phone number, pretty picture and qualifications? Your contact details are only relevant if you pass the first test.
A relevant, flowing, airy CV that grabs attention within 20 seconds will encourage the reader to read on. This is how a good CV should start:
(see this CV for reference)
RULE 6: LESS IS MORE
Having grabbed their attention, keep it. The next section is your EMPLOYMENT HISTORY. Keep your content airy and relevant. Add another level of differentiation – impress with your ability to be precise and to the point.
Reverse chronological order as your experience over the last 5 years is the most relevant. Provide relevant detail. As the dates recede, experience becomes less relevant and requires less detail. Do list all your professional work experience but anything over 10 years ago only requires one line (see Antonys’ CV).
RULE 7: REFERENCES
Massive differentiator. Why say ‘references available upon request’ when you have a unique opportunity to prove how good a job you have done previously by putting them in writing on your CV now? Add a couple of quotes from previous line managers to re-assure the reader and decision maker that you have delivered and will be an asset to the team.
RULE 8: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
WHAT IS RELEVANT and in what order (flow!)?
RULE 9: GOOD IS IN THE DETAIL
Proof read your CV and then get someone else too. Check grammar. Check spelling. Check numbers if you have used them. Nearly every CV we receive has at least one spelling mistake! There are 10 ‘typos’ in this document. How many did you spit?
Click here for our 5 day step by step guide to writing a good CV
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