Welcome to Part II of our CV Writing Boot Camp, where we’ll be getting to the nitty gritty of formatting your CV to make the most of the opportunity to showcase your glittering career.
Attention to your layout not only reflects your sense of professionalism but, more importantly, makes it easier for the recruiter (us!) and our clients to browse through. We were interested this morning to spot an article on LinkedIn that shows how recruiters look at a CV using heat mapping – which you can find here. We think “6 seconds” is pretty brief – we’re not sure we’re that speedy on a Monday morning, at least – but it’s a good rule of thumb to assume the worst and try to make it as clear as you possibly can.
There are two types of CV format and you should use the one that suits you best:
- Time based CV’s: These are more traditional, they list previous employers and job roles in detail, and are suited to professionals who have a formal history of experience. Start with your most recent.
- Skills based CV’s: These are better suited to contractors, or people who have taken time out from their career to focus on other things. They’re also useful when making a complete career change. These types of CV’s are more descriptive and focus more on skills and direct experience
A good advert can bring in hundreds of applications, so if a CV is difficult to read, or information is buried so that it’s hard to find, you wont get your opportunity to shine. Without creating a CV that looks like a Christmas tree, you should aim to effectively impart a limited amount of information which will ultimately secure you an interview. Quality takes precedence over quantity.
As a top tip, while it’s common in Europe and further afield, here in the UK there’s no need to include a photo of yourself – it could prejudice your application, and they make emails too large. Remember that what’s important is getting across the fact that you’ve got the skills for the job at hand – so stay focused!
Use either a letterhead style or a section at the end to include your name and basic contact details, as letters and emails become detached from the CV. You can leave out date of birth, salary, marital status, NI number, driving licence and nationality details etc – we don’t need to know them, because again, it’s all about having the right skills!
Hobbies and Interests
If you must include your hobbies, leave them to the end. While we’ve seen some very interesting (and rather odd) leisure activities on CVs (and don’t get us wrong – we’ve got some ourselves, but we’re keeping them quiet!) it’s best to keep it to a couple of ‘mainstream’ activities and maybe something of interest that you can talk about. But remember – if the interviewer spends time talking to you about “bell ringing”, they are not talking to you about how you can do the job you’ve applied for!
Next week: Part III – It’s All About You!
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