How to write a CV - Top Tips

Learning to write a CV is one of the best ways to market a very unique product - you! Your ability to write a CV, will help sell you to a potential employer and give you an edge against the other candidates trying for the same position. The key to learning how to write a CV is to do a more compelling job of selling yourself than your competitors do. Topped off with a well-written cover letter explaining why you are the right candidate for the job and your CV can open countless doors for you, often into the organisations of your choice.

Many people do not spend enough time learning how to write a CV, or worse yet they use generic CVs - the same CV for every job they apply for. Recruiters can easily spot generic or slapped-together CVs and often disregard them. The time you spend learning how to write a CV is worth every minute because a well-planned CV can attract the attention of a potential employer and get you the interview you really want.

What are these?

Tailor Your CV to the Employer

Many people apply to a large number of advertised positions using the same CV for each one. To improve the chances of your CV being noticed, target it to the potential employer. To do this, focus on the elements of your background or experience that best match the job profile. Remember, a potential employer may spend only 20 or 30 seconds to quickly size up your CV before deciding whether it goes in the "good potential" pile or the garbage.

Apart from carefully reading the job advertisement, research the company and check out their website to find out whatever you can about their products, services, hiring policies, management and employees.

Make a Good First Impression

In love and jobs, first impressions matter... a lot. This is especially true when it comes to CV writing. Creating a CV that grabs the recruiter’s attention in a positive way improves your chances of getting that interview. When learning how to write a CV keep the following CV writing tips in mind:

  • Write a succinct but strong profile that highlights your skills, capabilities, and achievements.
  • Remember to include "work based achievements". We have just conducted research amongst 1000 employers and "73% of employers have rejected candidates due to a lack of work-based achievements on their iProfile/CV"
  • Use short, snappy sentences with action verbs (accomplished, headed, drove sales, etc.) that grab your reader’s attention and portray you as someone who gets things done.
  • Save personal and educational details to the end of your iProfile/CV. If you have an iProfile, it is very easy to move re-order the information - just select the "Change layout" link.

All the Write Stuff

Accurate and up-to-date content is an essential part of learning how to write a CV. Deciding on and developing this content should take most of the time you dedicate to the task

Before you start the actual CV writing, make sure you have a clear sense of what the recruiters are looking for. Then get organised by preparing the following information:

  • Personal details. Your full contact info: current address, telephone number, and email.
  • Professional profile. Identify your skills, functional expertise, and industry experience. Research the advertisement and the recruiter and/or company website thoroughly before writing your profile.
  • Objective. A summary of the type of job you are seeking, customised for the specific job or company to which you are applying.
  • Core skills, competencies, and expertise (not already included in your professional profile). Remember to include your "Work Based Achievements". Use bulleted points and list these in the order the client would value them.
  • Employment summary. Written in reverse chronological order. Indicate the company name, city, state, dates of employment, and position.
  • Educational or other qualifications. Written in reverse chronological order. Include the degree, major and minor subjects, and institution. Mention any industry-specific training programs and certifications.
  • Other elements. List honours, leadership experience, activities, professional affiliations, languages known, or anything else that's relevant and unique about you.

Reviewing Your CV

Once you have learnt the basic's with regards how to write CV, always review it for the following before submitting it to a recruiter or potential employer:

  • Accuracy. Make sure the CV is accurate and completely up-to-date. Don't exaggerate or fib.
  • Customisation. Is your CV information customised for the job you are seeking?
  • Language and style. Have you used shorter sentences to achieve greater impact in your CV? Writing long sentences is more challenging and runs the risk of losing the attention of your audience. Use bulleted lists for skills and achievements.
  • Grammar. Ask a friend or colleague with good spelling, grammar, and CV writing skills to review your CV.
  • Don't forget to spell check and proofread your CV more than once! It is essential it be free of spelling errors and typos. iProfile has introduced a spell check to ensure you do not fall foul of spelling mistakes.

Alternative to Traditional CV Writing

A large number of UK recruiters and job seekers are turning to the streamlined simplicity of the iProfile. Why? iProfile was set up to simplify things for both jobseekers and recruiters by replacing the weakest link in the recruitment process - the traditional CV.

The iProfile online CV takes much of the confusion and decision-making out of CV writing by providing a universal format, adopted by thousands of recruiters. Recruiters often have to sift through huge volumes of CVs to fill vacancies - a process that consumes a lot of time and money. This is because they traditionally rely on paper or emailed CVs that vary in structure and are difficult to process.

Jobseekers on the other hand increasingly find that CVs they've posted or emailed quickly go out of date, fail to capture all their skills and achievements or fail to present information in a way that means they get offered the right job opportunities. iProfile has set out to solve these issues by creating the next evolution of the CV - a dynamic, online CV for professionals - which is fast becoming the recruitment industry standard. Thousands of recruiters and employers have access to iProfiles, which allows them to seek out candidates more easily.

To learn more about this alternative to CV writing, click here to try out iProfile for free.