The 10 Commandments of CV Writing

1) Thou shalt tailor thy CV

  • A one size fits all approach won’t get you very far – you’re much less likely to secure an interview if you send the same CV to every position you apply to
  • Research the organisation you’re applying to for context and use the job specification to tailor your CV – also shows employers that you actually want to work for them

2) Thy CV should not exceed two pages

  • Due to the sheer volume of CV’s that employers receive for a job opening, they’re likely to discard anything over two pages – don’t give them an excuse to discard yours
  • Save space by using bullet points to describe your responsibilities in previous roles and decrease page margins to create more space
  • Make sure the transition between the first and second page is a clean one – no half half sentences across two pages

3) Thou shalt check thy CV for errors…then check it again

  • Don’t give employers a chance to dismiss your CV for a careless spelling mistake
  • You’ll be disappointed in yourself and so will the potential employer if it is sent over with mistakes

4) Thou shalt be relevant throughout

  • Employers don’t care about your Saturday job at the local ice cream shop – focus on previous jobs that are relevant to the role in question
  • Order your employment history in reverse chronological order and include the most info on your most recent/current role

5) Thou shalt not lie

  • Keep it real Ian Beale – employers will likely catch you out at interview stage if you lie on your CV, which can be really awkward & will probably cost you the job
  • “Dont finish your career before it starts” – a publication by CIFAS (UK’s Fraud Prevention Service) advising of the consequnces of lying on your CV

6) Plagiarism is a sin, thou shalt not commit it

  • Although it may have worked for Jonathan Ross a few decades ago (he used his brother’s CV to land his first job as a researcher at Channel 4), you’re much less likely to get away with that today with the advancement of electronic scaning software
  • Some of the more obvious – your experience wont match the person’s CV you are copying and the recruiter may well have already seen the CV you’ve copied
  • Also, the CV you have coped may well contain mistakes which you haven’t spotted

7) Thou shalt name your electronic CV appropriately

  • The title of your CV should be your name + CV, e.g. Donald Trump CV (we’d all love to cast our eye over that one)
  • File name already exists when you try to save it? Create a new folder in the name of the organisation you’ve applied to – that way you know which variation of your CV you submitted

8) Thou shalt remember to include the relevant contact info

  • Not had any responses to the CV you recently distributed? Probably because you didn’t include your contact details
  • Always include your name, location (not necessarily your address), email address and contact number
  • Ensure it’s a professional email address too, ditch the

9) Thou shalt use a thesaurus

  • Excessive repetition of keywords on your CV screams poor communication skills and not much creativity
  • If you feel like your CV is guilty of this, use a thesaurus and maybe try to restructure the sentence

10) Thou shalt include a cover letter

  • A cover letter is a great opportunity to create more of an intro and covey some personality to the recruiter
  • Also means you can provide examples of your skills and experience, but be sure to include the impact of your skills when referencing them, e.g. reviewed and refined the finance process resulting in saving of £10k

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