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The facts and myths busting of CV writing.

Curriculum Vitae

“How to do I write a great CV?” is one of the most common and frequent questions we as recruiters get asked. It is the focus of a lot of our feedback to the candidates that we work with. We find that the pendulum definitely swings both ways, with candidates painfully oversimplifying their experience or trying to write the next “War and Peace”

There are also a number of misconceptions about resume writing. Of course, you need to take the advice from your recruiter as to what the client prefers to see, which may lead to you to further tailoring your CV for the specifications of the role. This is highly recommended as the more effort you put in, the more chance you have of being selected.

Here is a rough guide on what to include and what to definitely not include when writing that resume. Just call me the Marie Kondo of CV’s – it’s time to de-clutter that resume and turn it into a more concise and powerful document.

True or False?

CVs should be no more than 1 page?

FALSE!

Your CV is the first thing a prospective employee will receive about you, so why would you cut out relevant information just to keep it to the 1-page limit?

Don’t get me wrong - I am not suggesting that you present a 15-page CV play-by-play of everything you have done, but it is not possible to maintain a 1 or even 2 page CV throughout your career. Trying to do so will result in you sacrificing detail that could land you the interview.

You are aiming for no longer than 3 pages if you have under 5 years experience, no longer than 6/7 pages for 5 - 10 years and at max 8 pages.

How do you maintain a detailed, yet concise resume?

 

  • First:
    Forget about large skills matrix or the never ending ‘shopping list’ of technologies, tools and processes you have followed.

  • Why:
    Everything in your CV needs to be explained and have context.

  • Where:
    Use your role summary section to explain your role, the tools you used, how you used them and why. The HOW and WHY is very important.

  • Reasoning: 
    Anyone can write a series of words, but it takes someone who really understands how to use them to put it into context.

  • Company:
    If you have worked for a well-known brand for example a leading bank then there is no need to explain who the bank is and what they do. This just waste space and the hirer will skim past it anyway. However, if your work experience is international or perhaps for a relatively unknown start-up, then a short concise summary is useful.

  • Layout:

  1. Your name, address, number and e mail

  2. No photo! Best just to keep your photo for your LinkedIn and social media pages

  3. Font: While it might be tempting to funk up your resume with a bit of Comic Sans, stick to the more professional likes of Arial and Calibri and keep the font colour as black.

  4. Optional: LinkedIn, GITHub or Website

  5. Summary: Who are you, what is your work experience and key skills and what are you looking for next?

  6. Previous company name and location

  7. Start and end dates (not just the year, also include the month)

  8. Summary – your role, the project, the objective, team size and a high-level account of what you personally delivered

  9. Technologies, tools and processes should be mentioned in the body of the summary not just listed underneath

  10. Key Achievements – bullet points on what you achieved, how you achieved it and why.

  11. Qualification, Certifications and Courses

  12. Your interests both personally and any projects you work on outside of work

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