A CV, an abbreviation of curriculum vitae, is a summary of your work experience, qualifications and capabilities. In American English and some other countries, these documents are usually referred to as a resume.
However, whether you’re preparing a CV or a resume, the aim of your document is always the same: to make a positive impact on the reader and encourage them to get in touch with you regarding job opportunities.
There are certain tried and tested techniques that you can use to ensure your curriculum vitae is effective in the job market.
In this article, we provide eight CV writing tips that you can use on your CV to ensure you have a greater chance of getting the job you want. This guide also includes two CV templates that you can use to improve your job search.
1. Research the roles you are applying for
Many people make the mistake of applying for jobs that they don’t know enough about. If you don’t know what companies are specifically looking for within your industry, you’re not going to be able to tailor your CV to the requirements of the industry.
One of the easiest ways of researching your targeted roles is to go through the job description. Find out what the company is looking for and tailor your CV in line with those requirements.
Identify the skills that they class as essential and desirable, including both hard and soft skills, and provide examples of times you have demonstrated these skills in your CV. This could be done by detailing your skills, achievements, responsibilities etc.
When writing your professional CV, it’s important to also conduct research on the company itself. Visit the company’s website and perform a few internet searches to acquaint yourself with their culture and history.
With this information, you will then be able to write your CV in a way that is optimised for the company.
You can go even further by writing a cover letter that is tailored to the company that you are targeting. In your cover letter, you can directly describe how you fit into the company. Show them your enthusiasm for how they operate and how you can add value to their operation.
Another way of learning more about what recruiters expect from professionals in your industry is to attend recruitment fairs or job-related events.
This will give you the chance to talk directly to recruiters, picking their brains about how you can improve your CV to optimise it for job applications.
A professionally written CV should always be based on comprehensive research. When you have successfully conducted your research into the roles and companies that you will be applying for, you will have a better idea of how you can show recruiters that you are the ideal candidate.
To see what tailored CVs look like, take a look at our CV examples and templates. We’ve prepared 14 CV examples to help you write the perfect CV.
2. Be an achiever, not a doer
The difference between the doer and the achiever is that the achiever adds value, while the doer performs actions. A doer’s CV explains what he or she did, while the achiever’s CV explains how he or she added value via what he or she did.
Almost everyone has the experiences and accomplishments to write their CV in the style of an achiever, but most write in the style of doers.
A CV that is written in the style of an achiever will make you stand out from the competition and it will do your career justice.
How do you change from writing your CV as a doer to writing your CV as an achiever? How can your ensure your CV shows you to be the achiever that you are? One option is to get your CV done professionally. The second option is to learn how to write your CV in a way that does you justice.
Here is an example of a doer’s Project Manager CV writing: ‘Serving as a Project Manager, responsible for managing all stages of the project’.
And here is an example of an achiever’s Project Manager CV writing: ‘Saved the company £1.3M and improved the productivity of the Dispatch department by 14% by managing all stages of a project to transition two locations into one’.
The difference between the two examples above is clear to see. The achiever’s writing outlines how the project delivered results and added value. The doer’s writing simply describes what the Project Manager did, which doesn’t do anything to make the candidate stand out from other Project Managers.
CV writing as an achiever is all about identifying your achievements – which ideally should involve specific metrics, figures and data – and ensuring this comes out when describing what you did. This way, you will convince recruiters that you can add value to their company.