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Writing a Successful CV

by Alex Lawrence - 6th December 2013

Executive Recruitment Finding a Job Temps

A lot of time is invested in creating a CV; the right job determines happiness, wealth and personal success after all. Before a recruiter or potential employer will meet you this CV may be all they have to judge you by - it is your first impression and ultimately determines whether you will get a second. Give yourself the best chance at moving forward by taking care over the details:

A CV need not be a literary work of art, but spell check appears to be a very under-utilised function. Not everybody finds the red wiggly lines soul crushing, but they are very much visible (to the reader as well as the writer!) and a mere right click away from perfection. Word might not alert you to incorrect tenses (lead vs. led for example…), but it is the evidently misspelt words, especially those that pertain to your line of work, which can be undermining of your experience. Don’t let mistakes disrupt the flow of a sentence that describes your redeeming qualities.

Use of “I” 
“I” is a pretty useless word which can be omitted entirely. This is not only because a CV appears more professional and refined without it, but because it detracts from the key words that define your roles and skills. One is naturally drawn to the first, capitalised word of a sentence and so, rather than “I managed”, starting the sentence off with “Managed” makes the text far more punchy and powerful.

Avoid clichés. To say that you have the “ability to work independently and as part of a team” simply puts you on the same level as everyone else, because everyone else has written that with so little variance. Be the person who still shows that they possess this quality, but with a better understanding of why. Do you love working as part of a team because you have seen powerful solutions arise from co-operation? Does solitude allow you to access your profound technological mind vaults?! Sell yourself with passion.

Selling the Role
Make sure that the ratio of your role summary to company description is high. A single line to describe the sector of the company, and maybe even its recent market growth can be very helpful to the recruiter, but any more is unnecessary. It’s your role within the company that matters, and you don’t want to appear to be bulking up the text to compensate for an unsubstantial career history.

Summarize with structured, relevant bullet points. Information will be not be absorbed as efficiently after the first few pages and an opinion will have been formed of you already by this point, even if your best roles and attributes are to come. 2/3 pages is advised.

Text should ideally all be one font, one size aside from your name, and spaced consistently. Bold dates, companies and positions mean that the reader can quickly scan and identify the key facts. There is still room to be individual within these rules, but being messy isn’t a good way to stand out. If you either are or fancy yourself to be a designer of sorts then of course it’s good to exemplify your graphic skills.

Show that you’re proud of your achievements by aiming for perfection. For certain roles perhaps the technicalities hold more weight than any charismatic or grammatical quality, but these things are still important. The alterations are so quick to make, but so transformative; why wouldn’t you want your CV to express the best version of yourself? Your perfect career hangs in the balance.

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