These tips on writing a resume or CV won’t guarantee you get a job, but following them will increase your chances significantly.
If you have never written one, or if it’s been a long time since you did, you might want to check out these seven easy steps for writing a CV or resume from scratch first.
Otherwise, the following tips are based on recent research, backed by my own anecdotal evidence from both sides of the recruitment desk.
Basically I’ve done the research so that you don’t have to. And come back to this page when you’re working on your next CV as I update it regularly with new tips, tricks and suggestions.
- Tailor your CV or resume to the specific role you are applying for. A short profile or summary on the first page is useful for this. Think of the top three or four points you want this recruiter to know about you.
- Provide information about your transferable skills, such as solving problems, listening, selling products or ideas – this excellent careers advice site has a comprehensive job skills list to help you with this.
- Format the document properly.
- Pay attention to detail. Poor grammar and spelling will see your resume go straight in the waste paper bin. Get a relative, friend or librarian to check it for you, especially if editing is not your strong point.
- Give facts about your previous objectives, responsibilities and achievements, not abstract self-praise.
- Put achievements and work experience before your academic history. Recruiters may set a benchmark for academic achievement, but it will only tick a box, not get you an interview.
- Stick to two pages or less. This goes for senior execs too.
- Consider getting professional help. Evidence suggests recruiters don’t object to professionally written CVs – it shows determination. You can find links on many recruitment sites.
- Are you thinking of changing career? This can be especially daunting. I know, because I’ve done it!
I started my career in marketing, and after 12 years I was doing very well; I was a senior manager in a big publishing firm. I didn’t hate it, but there was something missing. I didn’t feel fulfilled and it was getting harder for me to motivate myself. So I started seeing a Life Coach who helped me sort out my values, preferences and priorities. After a few years travelling and teaching English (a life-long dream) I retrained as a business trainer and coach.
Are you dreaming of doing something else all the time you’re at work? Or do you feel there’s something else out there you were born to do, but you just don’t know what it is yet? I recommend enlisting a coach to help you in making great changes happen, including clarifying your goals, taking the first steps and keeping you motivated.
- Use coloured paper with lots of different fonts and styles.
- Lie or exaggerate your qualifications and job titles. If you are found out later, yes, you can be fired.
- Fill the space with irrelevant information. If you had a job in a pet shop five years ago, what transferable skills did you learn there that you can apply in this job?
- Copy your CV or resume from the Internet.
- Blow the good impression you’ve created in your cover letter or at the interview. Click here for some useful tips on modern job search etiquette.
OK, so much for the general hints and tips. For a step-by-step guide to writing a CV or resume from scratch, click on this link to seven easy steps to writing a CV or resume.
Done all that? Next step is to get help with writing a cover letter to go with your job application.