Are you suffering from CV-writer’s block?
Does everyone else’s CV seem more professional and better worded than yours?
The following are some CV writing tips to help you create a better CV:
1. Be neat and error-free.
Catch all typos and grammar errors. Make sure someone proofreads your CV, preferably someone attentive to details. Even the smallest error could land your CV in the reject pile.
2. Write a powerful opening statement.
Form a solid, clear opening statement that will help you carry a focused message throughout the CV. The best opening statements summarize your skills and emphasize your strengths.
Numbers are a powerful tool and should be included in your Action-Benefit statements
3. Focus on your benefit to employers.
Focus on highlighting accomplishments that will arouse the interest of employers who read your CV. Answer the question: “How can this candidate fulfil the role and make a positive impact?” Remember that the goal is to get the interview.
4. Make a good first impression.
On average, employers spend less than 30 seconds scanning each CV. Most employers are more concerned about career achievements than education. Place the most interesting and compelling facts about yourself at the beginning, such as a list of accomplishments in order of relevance.
Do not under-emphasize your strengths and experience
5. Emphasize your skills.
Use the skills or capabilities section in your CV that is organized around the main talents you have to offer. Prioritize everything.
6. Use keywords.
Include specific keywords and phrases that describe your skills and experience, such as Product Launch, Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Sales, Account Management, C++, Visual Basic, Word Processing, MS Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Graphic Design, and Advertising.
7. Use industry jargon.
Use industry jargon and acronyms to reflect your familiarity with the employer’s business, but not to the point where it makes your CV hard to read or understand. Spell out acronyms in parentheses if they are not obvious, such as TQM (Total Quality Management).
8. Use action verbs.
Portray yourself as active, accomplished, intelligent, and capable of contributing. Use action verbs. Examples: Managed, Launched, Created, Directed, Established, Organized, and Supervised.
9. Avoid personal pronouns.
Never use personal pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘me’ in your CV. Instead of complete sentences, use short Action-Benefit statements, like: “Coordinated and published a weekly newsletter that raised awareness for local community events.”
10. Highlight key points.
Use bold, italics, and underlining to highlight the most relevant information on your CV. For ASCII text-only CVs, you may use capital letters, quotation marks, even asterisks, to emphasize important words or section titles.
11. Summarize information.
In your CV, use only the amount of space required to demonstrate your qualifications for the position clearly and succinctly.
12. List only recent information.
The general rule of thumb is to show your work experience only for the last 10 to 15 years unless there is a specific prior experience that is especially relevant to the position you are seeking.
13. Quantify or qualifying experience.
Numbers are a powerful tool and should be included in your Action-Benefit statements.
Instead of writing “Responsible for increasing sales in my territory,” use “Increased sales in my territory 150% over 6 months. Managed 30 accounts increasing revenues from $1.5M to $2M annually.”
14. Be organized, logical and concise.
In addition to reviewing your experience, employers also use the CV to sense whether you are organized, logical, and concise. Make sure your CV is balanced, neat, visually appealing, and flows consistently. Clearly separate sections and emphasize section titles. Leave sufficient blank space between sections for easy reading.
15. Just communicate.
Abandon the use of exorbitant, exquisite vocabulary. In other words, don’t try to impress employers with the depth of your vocabulary. Use words everyone can understand.
16. Omit salary information.
Never refer to salary in your CV. Save this information for the interview.
Never refer to personal information such as race, religion, marital status, age, political party or even personal views
17. Avoid questionable subjects.
Never refer to personal information such as race, religion, marital status, age, political party, or even personal views. In all but a few instances, it would be illegal for the employer to consider such issues. Also, avoid the use of humour and clichés in most CVs.
18. Be honest.
Lying or exaggerating your abilities will always come back to haunt you. Since employers usually check into serious candidates, you will want every detail to check out.
19. Sell your strengths.
Do not under-emphasize your strengths and experience. Portray yourself in the best possible light. Skills that seem natural to you, others may never grasp.
20. Write your own CV.
Be personal, yet professional. Create a CV that reflects your best personal characteristics and positive traits.
Portray yourself as active, accomplished, intelligent…
21. Personal traits.
If you want to include personal traits in your CV, such as “Dependable, Highly-Organized, Self-Motivated, and Responsible,” rather than just listing these traits, try demonstrating these characteristics using examples from your experience. For example, instead of writing “Dependable”, write “Never missed an important deadline in five years as a project manager.”
22. Position yourself in the best possible light.
To de-emphasize glaring gaps in your work history, consider using a Functional CV, which focuses on your skills and accomplishments rather than a Chronological CV format, which emphasizes the progression of your experience.
23. Combine sections when possible.
Try to combine any short sections together to make your CV more compact. For example, if you only have one entry under training, consider placing it under your education instead and change the section title to “Education and Training”.
24. Use common section headings.
Use common section headings. Examples: Objective, Experience, Employment, Work History, Skills, Summary, Summary of Qualifications, Accomplishments, Achievements, Capabilities, Education, Professional Affiliations, Publications, Licenses and Certifications, and Honors.
Create a CV that reflects your best personal characteristics and positive traits
25. Be positive.
Remove any negative comments or feelings conveyed in your CV, especially when it comes to previous employment experiences. Emphasize a positive, can-do attitude.
Check the spelling and grammar of your CV. Use the word processor’s spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and usage errors in English or other language or if you need help in organizing your CV, bring it to a professional for assistance.
Remember that your CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your CV writing instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use CV samples and CV templates.
Most recruiters expect to receive a cover letter together with your CV. So, prepare a cover letter convincing the reader why you are the best candidate for the interview using cover letter writing tips.
Other Better CV Info
Now to finalize your CV writing tips, if your cover letter and CV are ready, you may email them through an international job search to job recruiters and headhunters worldwide.
Start preparing for job interviews and check the job interview tips dos and don’ts. Also, find out why people are not hired for available jobs.
In addition, on job search, visas, work permits, cover letters, CV & resume, job interview and dress codes pages, you will find very useful tips for many different countries.
Good luck with your better CV!