To kick off our “candidate advice” series, we asked the team at Elliott Scott HR for their top tips on how to structure your CV to make it stand out. We will be building on this toolkit so we recommend bookmarking it so you can easily come back and reference these blogs when you’re looking for your next role.
Our top tips:
When looking at the market and roles that are interesting to you, use them as a checklist against your CV – do you address the responsibilities they have asked for? Do you give them confidence that you are going to be value add?
Use a format that is easily digestible, ensure the flow and layout is clear and not busy. There are some great CV templates available online for free that you can use
We like to see CV’s that are one to two pages in length, try to keep it concise even if you have a long career, three pages should be the maximum length
The personal information you include varies based on your location but always include a mobile number and email address so you can be contacted. No need for any passport details or your date of birth. Some employers do still like to get an idea of where you’re based so include a post code or area and if applicable, information about your Visa status
A CV should be the essence of your professional experience and it should be a “map” of your journey. We like to see CVs that highlight candidates’ progression and help us to understand their moves and what skills they have gained from working in certain roles or organisations
Use powerful keywords – these are words which at a glance show the reader that you are a good fit for the job. Many employers skim read CV’s at first so use words that stand out for the role
Include a persuasive short summary at the start of the CV outlining your skills and competencies
When you include your education and certifications put clear dates of when they were attained
In your experience highlight your key achievements and align these to the job description, using similar language. List a few bullet points of what you are the most proud of in each role, what you have achieved professionally, what projects you have successfully completed/ led on, what was the outcome for the business, what is your expertise etc.
Quantify your experience – use numbers to demonstrate results and the scope of work you did
Make your experience interesting: no one needs to understand every single responsibility or task you’ve had in your role. Don’t make it too lengthy and wordy – this can be discussed in the interview. As mentioned above, focus on the key points
Include hobbies or notable awards, recognition and achievements (for example; ‘completed a marathon’) to add some personality to your CV, especially if you have less than 3 years’ experience
It can also be hard to stand back and look at your CV objectively, so ask at least two people to look at it and be critical.
Your CV should be a living document that you are constantly updating and working on to keep on top of it. This way you can apply for roles of interest as and when you come across them
If you’d like further resources to assist writing your CV, our US team ran a resume writing workshop which can be viewed here. For a formula to help present your accomplishments in the most effective way we recommend reading this article.
Thank you to our team who contributed to this blog: Agata Staszewska-Palka, Roshan Jayawardena, Fleur Daniell, Amy Pang and Uche Soile.
If you need assistance with finding your next HR role or are hiring into your organisation, find your regional contact on our team page here.