You’re unique. Your CV should be too. Make sure you adapt your CV for each role you apply for. Here’s how:
You can easily change the order you present your information in depending on the role you’re applying for. If you don’t have any direct experience in the role you are applying for, but you have a lot of transferrable skills, then put these skills at the top. If it’s a graduate role, or the advert puts a lot of emphasis on specific qualifications, why not lead with those? If you have a lot of roles in your work history, but some are a lot more relevant than others, put your relevant experience first, and then your other experience underneath.
Recruiters tend to work closely with the hiring managers to help craft an advert that will attract you to the role. They will then give you a clear idea of the skills and experience they’re looking for. If you read words in the advert and think, ‘that’s me, I have those skills and that experience’, then you could borrow some of the words from the advert and put them in your CV. Describing your experience in the same way the manager does shows what a great match you are to the job.
This can depend on the manager and the type of experience you have. If you’re looking to use your transferable skills to get into a new line of work, it’s good to write a covering letter explaining why you’re interested and what skills you have that could be beneficial. Or you can write a few sentences at the very top of your CV. Talk about yourself, your recent achievements and why you’re applying for this role – why has this role caught your eye? How does this fit with your longer-term career goals? Remember – this is unique to the role you’re applying for.
Talk about yourself
It’s really important to write about yourself in first person: In this role, I looked after my customers’ needs by… Writing about your own experience in the third person: In the role of Resourcing Consultant, Mark gave candidates great advice about CV writing… is dated. You need to sell yourself and take pride in your achievements. Own them!
Shiny and new
Unless you’re following the rules above about layout, remember new experience comes first and work backwards when describing your work history. Tell us the dates you worked there, the company, your role, and a short description of what your role involved – the key skills you used, the responsibilities you had and your achievements.
Mind the gap
If you have gaps in your work history for your world travels, time caring for a relative or friend or any other reason, include it in your work history. It’s good to explain it here, otherwise it becomes a hole in your application that might stop you getting the chance to explain it later in an interview. Volunteering, holiday, temporary, and charity work all count as experience, so celebrate them on your CV.
Hobbies and interests: are they interesting?
You’ll get mixed messages about including these. Some managers like them as they give a rounded sense of who you are. You don’t live to work. Some managers don’t - your love of travel and vintage knitwear doesn’t really strengthen your application in Software Development.
Our advice would be to include them, but only if they support your application. Being part of a sports team shows good teamwork; pets or time volunteering in an animal sanctuary shows you’re caring; coaching the local team shows good leadership; elaborate cross-stitch? Attention to detail!
So be selective, have a reason for including your hobbies and they’ll strengthen your application.
Check, double check, triple check!
Check your CV carefully. Errors are easily made when editing it to make it unique to the role you’re applying for because you’ll be changing the layout and wording and that’s where typos and mistakes can creep in. Use the spell check feature on your computer or ask a friend to read it through – when you’re too close to it, sometimes you don’t see mistakes. A good technique is to update your CV in plenty of time, leave it for a few days and look again with fresh eyes.
If you’re shortlisted for an interview, then take some time to read through your CV a few times. Some of the questions at the interview may be about what’s in your CV, so remind yourself how you phrased your experience, the things you have drawn the hiring manager’s attention to and what you might imagine they’ll ask you to elaborate on.
Use your network
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to CV writing, so it’s best to make it a good representation of you. To help you understand what the hiring manager of the role is looking for, get in touch with the recruiter of the role, introduce yourself to them and ask questions about the role. It’s okay to ask about what they’re looking for and about the qualities the right candidate will have. You can use that extra insight to help shape your CV. If you have a friend or family member working at LV=GI, ask them to refer you.
The Resourcing Team wish you the best of luck in your application, and our details can be found on the careers page for extra support. Remember, the best CV is unique to you and is a personalised celebration of you and your achievements.