The goal when writing your CV is to summarise your professional self in the most accurate, engaging and succinct way. Succinct being the key point.
Your CV will most likely be read by someone who is pushed for time and will be ‘skimming’ your CV for only the relevant information. You need to ensure it’s well-structured, the relevant information stands out and can be read quickly. Don’t worry about cramming everything in; it’s about conveying the headlines because you can elaborate further in a face to face interview.
- Keep your CV to two pages in length.
- The first section of your career history is the part which always gets the most attention from a reader, usually because they are most interested in what you have done recently. Therefore, present your career history in reverse chronological order and elaborate the most in your recent roles and less so as you go further back in your career.
- Always includes a short profile at the beginning to summarise you and your career to date. This is your opportunity to grab the reader’s attention.
- A skills summary is also a great idea, particularly if you are in a technical profession.
- Inject some of your personality into your CV, but do this with descriptive words in your profile rather than quirky fonts, bright graphics, logos or photographs.
- Avoid clichés such as ‘hardworking’ or ‘punctual’ – these are expected by employers.
- Use a clear format and split each role into day-to-day responsibilities and achievements. When describing these, use bullet points rather than paragraphs as this is much easier for the reader to digest quickly.
- Always add a brief one-line description of each employer; never assume the person reading will automatically know what they do.
- If you’re applying for a specific role, then study the advertisement and/or job description and ensure that you clearly reflect what they’re looking for.
- Finally, it’s great to include some information about you outside of work in a hobbies or personal interests section at the end. Particularly if it demonstrates the kind of attributes an employer is looking for i.e. you help run a charity in your spare time or are actively involved in a local sports team.
About the author
Jennie Child is a leading industry director of talent with over sixteen years’ experience. She recently joined AKQA to help them ensure they are always on the front foot when it comes to pioneering talent, and continue to build on the strong heritage culture already existing within the company.
Jennie has a strong background in recruitment, having worked within the sector at a number of highly recognised agencies. Her key areas of focus at AKQA include looking at global initiatives and talent sharing, executive hires and management of the London team.
Jennie is also an avid sailor, part of a female only yacht racing team called The Sirens which she helped to launch.