Your CV is your ticket through the door and into the interview seat. This is your first impression so you’ll want to get it right!
CVs can vary depending the on the industry you are in, our advice is most relevant to the accountancy and finance sector (because that’s our thing).
Here’s our handy guide to help you write the CV of all CVs…
What is the purpose of your CV?
Before you do anything though, ask yourself this question so that you have a clear objective. The whole idea of your CV is to provide an insight into you as a professional. It should be a true, clear and informative description of your expertise and qualifications. Keep this in mind as you go.
Who will be reading your CV?
It’s also important to consider who is going to be on the receiving end of your CV – who are you talking to? In some cases you might be sending your CV directly to the hiring manager, in other cases it may be a member of HR or a Recruiter. In either case, it’s important to make sure your CV is clear and your suitability for the role you’re applying to jumps out of the page. This is where keywords come in…
Be sure to include keywords in your CV, but be careful because too many looks like you’re intentionally trying to get past an employer’s CV sifting software, and too little clearly won’t demonstrate that you are the right fit for the role.
Keywords are important because where your CV is being reviewing by a member of the HR team, you can’t expect this person to know every detail of your role, including the technical terms or systems you’ve used. They know they need to look for these words, because the hiring manager has told them, but they don’t necessarily know to make assumptions based on your experience. You must highlight these so that anyone reading your CV and reading the job spec could see you are a suitable match.
The ideal format
When it comes to the format of your CV, don’t overthink it! It can be easy to fall into a trap of textboxes, images and colourful font. A simple, but clear and consistent format is best.
It’s also important that you stick to the same format throughout your CV. It may be seem like an obvious point, but you’ll be amazed how many people get caught out by this and inconsistent formatting suggests that you do not have a good attention to detail, or that you’re sloppy.
Here is a format that is proven to work time and time again –
- Start with your name and contact information
You don’t need to include your full address, just your Town or City is fine, and don’t forget your LinkedIn URL!
- Write a brief profile
This should be no more than a few lines in length, think of it as a quick snapshot to who you are and what you do. Reference both technical and soft skills and be sure to write this in 3rd person to give a more professional tone (this also makes sure that your profile is not just a series of statements or claims that you are making).
- List your education
This is advised for those at the earlier stages of their career. For those more experienced, you may wish to put this at the end of your CV. Either way, be sure to include the name of your qualification, where you achieved this and in what year – and don’t forget to add the letters you’ve achieved after your name at the top of your CV!
- Include your key achievements and/or skills
This is where your CV gets interesting. You want to make sure that your achievements include tangible data that demonstrates a clear ROI (return on investment) for the potential employer. When writing these, ask yourself why the employer should hire you over others. What makes you special and how have you demonstrated this in previous roles?
- Outline your career history
This is the evidence, or the proof, that you are what you say you are. Simply detail the various roles you have had, including the details of the company you worked for and what your key responsibilities were. You may wish to include achievements under each role (either instead of the above or to support the above achievements).
- Mention your hobbies and interests
Don’t be afraid to do this, it might just be a great conversation starter! Try not to be cliché but be genuine and true to yourself too. This is how the reader will learn about the person behind the CV and it’s also an excellent way to find potential common ground with the hiring manager, helping to build rapport.
- Finish with references
Don’t make the mistake of including the referee’s details. You don’t need to do this, simply writing ‘References available upon request.’ is totally fine!
We suggest using our ‘Ideal CV’ template when writing your CV. Click here to download this.
For more information or support get in touch with us at [email protected].