How to write a CV

How to write a CV

How to write a CV

Quite simply, my approach to CV writing is the marketing approach. This means understanding and communicating your value in credible ways, with examples to substantiate the important things that you say about yourself.

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Why I recommend the 'marketing approach'

  • Getting a job is never a case of luck and it’s not a numbers game – it’s about knowing what an employer really wants and effectively offering this to them.
  • Meeting the person specification is not enough – you need to show that you fit the role in ways that are demonstrably better than any of the other candidates, based on the things that they value.
  • When describing yourself to potential employers, you cannot rely on stating that you have the skills – you must think about how to credibly demonstrate that you have these in such a way that is superior to your ‘competitors’. Make it an absolute no brainer that the employer will choose you!
  • Writing your CV is not a one off process – it should grow and develop as you do and it should be appropriate for the current stage in your career. It should also be different for each role that you apply for.
  • All of these skills are useful, not just in applying for jobs but in all aspects of your personal communication. They help you to be perceived credibly and impress the right people.

CV writing advice

  • Your job application, CV and interview should not just be a list of skills and experiences – it should be a value proposition to the employer. The skills involved in delivering this are worth developing.
  • Standard applications and standard answers will rarely get you by – unless you have very limited competition. Your application should be tailored to the particular role. Hopefully all applicants are ‘hard working, trustworthy, reliable individuals’ … What else can you offer that is unique to you?
  • Be sceptical of any advice that suggests that there are hard and fast rules about writing your CV. It is a creative process and is unique to you. It depends on the stage in your career, the kind or role, sector and industry that you want to work in and the particular career path you have taken.
  • Having noted the above, a common sense approach is vital. Whilst your CV does not have to be exactly 2 pages, one page is unlikely to justify your place on the shortlist, and 5 pages makes you look like you have not bothered to edit the document with any great care. Mine is sometimes 2 pages / sometimes 3.
  • When at an interview, simply stating that you have particular skills is not enough. You have to demonstrate that you have them. The ability to be able to do this on the spot when under pressure should be learned and developed.