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How to write the ideal CV/Resume

Posted by Alana Cumming on 5/10/2022

Recruitment faq

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It’s time to submit an application for a new job. You recently graduated and looking to get some experience, or you’re ready to move up the career ladder and take up new opportunities with another company…

There are a number of reasons why your CV/resume might need a makeover and this guide will give you the tools on how to write a great CV/resume that gets you noticed for your job interview to help you land your next job.

What information should be included when writing my CV/resume?

The format is flexible, and there are many different styles used however, there are some main components that employers will expect to see:

  • Name and contact details (This includes, email address and contact number(s). An address is not required) Feel free to add an up-to-date professional profile, such as LinkedIn.
  • Personal statement
  • Experience (starting with most recent role first)
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Hobbies and interests (Optional)
Make your CV work for you

Do you try to include everything you’ve done in your CV/resume? Or send the same CV to every role you apply for?

This is a common mistake that we see way too often. You need to remember that the role of your CV is to get you an interview for the jobs that you apply for. To do that, you need to make sure you highlight the relevant experience for that particular job. It shows that you have thought about your skills and taken the time to understand the role, so make sure you adapt your CV for the role that you are applying for.

Your starting point…

Remember who the reader is. It’s easy to get carried away with something that you have a clear understanding of, but make sure you take into account that the people reading your CV/resume may all have varying levels of knowledge.

So, remember to be clear on what your skills entail, and try and offer a brief explanation of the core components of the roles you’re referring to. A good way to do this is by using the job description to help ensure you are covering the requirements by using the same terminology.

Writing down the fundamentals

The main part of your CV is your experience section. This is your chance to highlight your skills and your experience. So, getting this section of your CV right is fundamental to its success.

The key to a good CV/resume is ensuring that it is digestible, grabs the attention of the reader, and engages them to make them want to read on.

Some of our top tips to address when writing the experience section of your CV/resume are:

1. Demonstrate your suitability through your work experience

The job description or ad should give a list of the required skills and experience. Under each of your past roles, use bullet points to highlight the relevant skills to the reader. You need to make sure you’re specific. For instance, if the job description states that you need sales experience, then give the detail that shows you have the relevant experience.

2. Flaunt your achievements

Achievements show the impact you’ve made in your role. Listing these achievements on your CV/resume is a good way to highlight your main strengths, which is an important factor when applying for any position. Make sure you use figures to emphasise your strengths and skill set for example, ‘Hit and exceeded department KPIs by 20% for 5 months in a row’.

3. Add volunteer work

As a graduate, including that you have volunteer experience is a good indicator that you as an individual are motivated to work. Including a volunteer experience section is a great way to stand out as a job candidate as it shows you're community-minded and gives you the chance to prove your professional skills, especially if you have no previous employment.

4. Draw similarities in your experience

If there are similarities between a previous employer or role, make sure you point them out and provide extra information on the similarities you are drawing. For example, you may want to mention if your previous employer had many clients in a specific sector; especially if this is a sector that is important to the company you are now looking to work for. For instance, if you are looking to join one of our LHi brands, it would be good to draw similarities from specific sectors such as Technology (Lawrence Harvey), Life Science (SciPro), the Built Environment (Harper Harrison), and Energy (Piper Maddox).

5. Tell a story through each role

Responsibilities are about what you were doing in a specific role. It’s easy to put a tremendous amount of content here but try not to. It’s important you use this as an opportunity to tell a story and create a narrative to help engage the reader in a concise way.

6. Think about the structure

Think about the structure and length of your CV/Resume.

Remember, keep it snappy! - The purpose of your CV is to create enough interest for someone to call you and want to find out more, so ensure you keep the length to no more than two pages with a view that you’ll be able to explain in more detail your experience, roles, and responsibilities during your initial call or interview.

Make sure that you also have a clear structure with carefully defined sections. This will make it simple for a recruiter to skim-read your CV and pick out the facts that are most relevant to them. Ensure that you also use sub-headers and bullet points to set the relevant information out in a concise and impactful way.

7. Make it keyword friendly

If you are uploading your CV to job sites, make sure you use the important keywords related to the industry you wish to get into. Your CV will be carefully analysed by AI technology to pick out selected words to help a search engine highlight the relevant CVs from the pile. For instance, a recruitment consultant might mention sales experience among their experience and skills. If you are unsure of what words to use, cross reference this with different job descriptions to see what terminology is repeated throughout.

8. References

Include the details of two people you have worked with in the past who can vouch for you.  Most companies won’t contact them without your permission but it’s good to show that you have people who will be able to reference your work. And don’t forget to ask their permission to use them.

Get in touch.

We hope that you now feel more confident about how and what to include in your CV/resume and are keen to get started with the interview process. Don't forget to check out our blog for interview techniques to help you land your new job, read our blog here.

We love sharing bits about our industry with you, look out for our next blog in the recruitment series.

If you think you would be a good fit for the recruitment industry and want to be part of our LHi family, reach out to our People Team:

UK & Europe People Team at recruitment@wearelhi.com
US People Team at recruitmentUSA@wearelhi.com