CV Writing Tips

Your CV is supposed to be a snapshot of who you are and what experience you have, but it’s incredible how this vital document can turn out bland and boring. In this environment, with technology at our fingers, there really is no excuse not to be able to create something memorable, so we’re going to show you how you can write a CV that will make you stand out amongst the competition.

Professional Snapshot

Your CV is your chance to give potential employers a professional snapshot of who you are, even if your working experience is minimal. This makes it even more important, while you literally have a blank canvas to demonstrate your intangible skills, like motivation, attitude to tackling projects, determination and how you will fit nicely in their team.

Make your CV Stand out

Just imagine how many CVs an employer receives for each job they advertise, and imagine if they’re all the same formula: traditional Word document, list of jobs, education grades, and a list of hobbies. How does anyone expect to stand out amongst that?

Find a template online

Have you heard of CANVA? If not, make yourself familiar with it immediately. This website has templates for everything you can imagine; presentations, flyers, posters, business cards, social media banners, social media posts and hundreds of documents. There is a free account which gives you plenty of templates without paying a penny.

Choose a style that fits the job

It has to be said, that each industry has a style, so it’s best to prepare your CV to suit it. Keep it professional!

Here are a few examples of what’s available on CANVA.

What to say on your CV:

  1. Your Bio

Aside from the typical name and contact details, write a nice bio using the first or third person voice to introduce to the employer, what you have recently been doing, your latest role and what it entailed, what extracurricular activities you’re involved in and any part time jobs you had. Use this section to demonstrate your use of language and turn this section into the story of you.

A quick side note on bio’s: Choose a style of writing that tallies up with the job… so if you’re going for a sales job, don’t be shy to mention any awards you have won, e.g. ”Salesperson of the month” for three months running, show them how proud you are and it also gives them insight to your competitive nature.

Example Bio

“Peter Smith is a Marketing specialist with over 10 years of successful experience in traditional and digital marketing. Peter specialises in digital marketing and regularly attends conferences to showcase new trends in marketing, such as analytics, social media trends, and SEO analytics tools. A strong believer in teamwork, Peter regularly develops internal collaboration campaigns to assist employees in marketing themselves as a brand. Peter enjoys a good night on the town but can also be found escaping reality by indulging in a good book”

Chronological Order

List any jobs you have taken part in first, as employers will be keen to see whether you had any type of work experience. If you have many years of experience, list only those roles that will be beneficial to the job you applied for. You do not need to list a role that you had after you left university, unless you feel this role will have a major impact on the role you will be applying for.

Ensure you share your achievements and duties within your role. I would list your achievements first before going into your duties, it helps the employer see what you actually achieved in this role.

Example:

  • Sept 2019 – Feb 2020: Supervisor – TESCO

Key achievements: 

  • Received sales person of the Month for 3 months running.
  • Exceeded year end target of £1.375m
  • Gained my Diploma in Marketing whilst managing a team of 3 sales assistants

Duties:

I was responsible for receiving daily deliveries and placing new stock onto the shelves, checking use by dates and rotating stock. Mostly shift work, before and after opening hours. Further responsibilities included supplier management, staff management, staffing training, PR management and marketing.

Education

As an experienced professional, your education doesn’t need to be in too much depth. Include both your university degree and grades and your A-level’s and grades. If you achieved something great at university, include this in this section. Your A-levels show the employer what else you are capable of doing, that you might not have done at university. 

However if you have done further education, or learnt further skills after your university/A-levels, list these first and slowly phase out the A-levels as these skills would be more relevant as you gain more experience.

Hobbies

This area is supposed to give the reader a snapshot of your personality and how you spend your free time. Including sports gives the impression you’re a team player, listing musical instruments says you’re of high intellect and being good at art and design shows you are creative and think outside the box.

Be careful not to create a fake personality when you prepare yours, otherwise you will break the trust of your new employer!!

How many pages should you write?

As your experience grows, so will the length of your CV, so in the first instance, make yours fit nicely on two A4 pages, using spacing and write a few more words on each element to showcase your studies, work, hobbies and achievements, this will make a nice amount for the employer to read. Over the years, you’ll most likely increase this to a nice 4 page portfolio.

It’s your turn to write your killer CV

Now we’ve shared our (20 years of experience) in writing CV’s with you, go and work on yours to make it stand out amongst the hundreds that you will be competing against. There is no excuse not to write a fabulous CV! Good luck!

Redundancy Whilst on Furlough

Have you recently been made redundant whilst on the government furlough scheme and don’t know what to do next? Over this post, we will share with you your rights to what redundancy pay you are entitled to if your company recently became insolvent and you were made redundant.

Firstly, let’s find out if you are eligible.

The Government Insolvency Service will help get you paid redundancy pay if you were furloughed and then made redundant because the company became insolvent.  The service will only help you if you were dismissed and not re-employed under the furlough scheme. 

You’ve figured out you are eligible, so what’s next?

Being made redundant comes with many rights, which you will be entitled to. These include being made redundancy pay, being paid your notice period, plus being paid any money that your employer owes you (unpaid wages). If you were on furlough when you were made redundant, you still have the same rights as if you were made redundant without being put on furlough. Find out how to apply for your redundancy pay via the Government website.

Here’s what you can apply for:

  1. Redundancy pay: You can apply for redundancy pay if you have worked for the employer for 2 years or more. This included the time you were on furlough. For example, if you worked for a company for 1 year and 7 months, and then were on furlough for 5 months, you would have been employed for 2 years and would be eligible for redundancy.
  • Holiday pay: You are entitled to your holiday pay when you have been made redundant. You can apply for days you accrued but not used in your current annual leave year. You can continue to accrue holiday entitlement during furlough, but your employer can also ask you to take holiday, whilst furloughed. If you’ve been made redundant part way through your annual leave, then you will only be entitled to some of your holiday pay.

Days off where you received furlough pay for do not count against your annual leave entitlement. You can claim these as holiday pay. Holiday pay must be paid at your full salary and not furlough salary.

  • Money you’re owed: You may be entitled to other payments such as overtime and commission. If you were paid 80% of your monthly wage, up to £2,500 a month on the CJRS scheme, then the government can not pay you the difference between this furlough pay and your full salary.
  • Notice pay: If you were not given notice prior to being made redundant, you can also apply for your notice to be paid, as long as you have worked for your employer for at least one month.

So, what will be your rate of pay?

When you apply for your redundancy pay through the government, you will be asked about your rate of pay. This will be based on your weekly pay and this is what they will use to calculate your payments. You will need to provide your pre-furlough pay, rather than what you earned on furlough. If you were not paid weekly, you can find out how the government calculates your pay here.

Under new laws introduced at the end of July 2020, furloughed employees being made redundant will receive redundancy pay on their normal wage, rather than the furloughed rate. This has been put in place to protect workers and ensure you are being paid your full entitlement. These changes will also apply to Statutory Notice Pay, which is where you are being paid your full amount for your notice period rather than the furloughed rate. 

Although the government will help get you paid your statutory redundancy, there are limits to how much they can pay. You can find out more on our Calculate Your Redundancy Pay post.     

If your company fails to pay redundancy pay, or if you disagree on the amount you have 3 months from the date your employment ended to make a claim to an employment tribunal. Also, if you were not consulted prior to being made redundant, you may be entitled to a compensation payment called a protective award. To get this, you will have to make a claim to an employment tribunal, which you can do online on the government website.

You can read more about calculating your pay on our previous post.

Redundancy Consultation

Whether you are furloughed or not, the usual consultation period where your employer consults staff individually and collectively about the redundancy proposals, allows them to comment and shares the rules for a fair consultation, will still need to be put in place. 

As you will be on furlough, the logistical issues of having a consultation on site will need to be addressed, meaning consultation will need to be done remotely, via video call, conference call or in writing. Employees will still be given the right to be accompanied by a representative (if this is your normal company practice) to redundancy meetings even if the meeting is carried out remotely. 

The coronavirus job retention scheme confirms that ‘whilst on furlough, employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers.’

If the employer is making 20 or more redundancies in a 90 day period, then a collective consultation will be triggered and the employer will need to ensure they consult collectively with the appropriate Trade Union or existing staff representatives. 

Your employer should also bear in mind that the furlough scheme is coming to an end on the 31 October 2020, so consideration should be given to how this may impact the timeframe for any consultation period.

Redundancy selection process

For furloughed staff, the guidance is that usual employment law and employee rights will still apply, including protection from unfair dismissal. Employers will need to ensure that the selection criteria is fair, objective and reasonable; and that staff are consulted about them before they are finalised. Automatically selecting employees for redundancy based on being furloughed can be problematic for the company and may result in unfair or discriminatory dismissal. 

Calculate Your Statutory Redundancy Pay

Have you recently been made redundant and unsure how much redundancy pay you are entitled to?

If you have worked for your employer for more than 2 years, then you are entitled to government statutory pay.

At a minimum, you are entitled to:

  • 0.5 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re under 22
  • 1 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re between 22 and 41
  • 1.5 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re 41 or older

Your pay is capped at £538 (£560 in Northern Ireland) per week and the length of service is capped at 20 years. Your length of service is measure from your first working day to your last working day, including notice periods. 

You may get more redundancy pay if your employer has a redundancy scheme in place. And, redundancy pay up to £30,000 in tax-free. 

Find out how much statutory redundancy pay you are entitled to via the Government Redundancy Pay Calculator. 

Please note that redundancy payments are based on age, weekly pay and number of years in the job. 

How do you know if you qualify for statutory redundancy pay?

You’ll get statutory redundancy pay if you:

  • have been employed by your employer for 2 years continuously
  • have lost your job because there was a genuine need to make redundancies in your workplace
  • are a particular kind of worker called an ‘employee’ – this includes part-time employees. You can read more on what Is classified as an employee here.

If you’re on a fixed-term contract, you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if your employer doesn’t renew your fixed-term contract because the job doesn’t exist anymore and you had either:

  • a fixed-term contract for 2 years or more
  • shorter contracts that followed on from each other and added up to 2 years or more

You won’t get statutory redundancy pay if you:

  • have worked in your job less than 2 years
  • are self employed
  • are a crown servant, police officer, in the armed forces, parliamentary staff or holder of public office
  • are domestic staff working for your immediate family
  • are an employee of a foreign government
  • are a share fisherperson

But this doesn’t mean you can’t get redundancy pay. You may be able to get some redundancy pay if your company offers a contractual redundancy pay. Please check your contract to see what it states on redundancy pay.

You could also lose your right to statutory redundancy pay. This can be done by:

  • turning down a suitable alternative job your employer offered you without good reason
  • want to leave before the job has ended (including your notice period) – this can include starting another job before your contract period has ended
  • or, are fired for gross misconduct before the job finishes

If you’ve recently been made redundant whilst on furlough, find out more about your redundancy rights here.