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.
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:
- 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.
“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”
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.
- Sept 2019 – Feb 2020: Supervisor – TESCO
- 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
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.
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.
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!