How to write a CV

When you submit a CV, you are normally responding to a job advertisement, mailshot or direct approach, which will always contain clues as to how to respond. For example, if a job advertisement asks for strong management skills, you should emphasise your achievements and skills in this area, a good way to do this is by accompanying your CV with a covering letter explaining your suitability to the role.

When submitting your CV to a recruitment consultancy rather than directly to a hiring manager, your CV can be as long as your experience.  We don’t believe it is beneficial to limit you to two pages, it’s important that you include everything - company turnover, headcount, products, clients etc.  We can always discuss taking off anything that isn’t relevant to the job you are being put forward for.

Your CV will be used as the basis for interviewer's questions. It is important not to allow gaps in your career history or unclear explanations to take up this valuable time.  Your CV should also give an idea of your potential, therefore if you are currently or soon will be studying for an additional qualification, be sure to say so.  Include genuine foreign language skills as these are highly sought after.

CMC Consulting have put together some guidelines for writing your CV.  In order to assist you we have setup a template which you can download.

CV Template

Your CV should be simply presented without any photos or coloured fonts, so that the information is clear and is allowed to speak for itself.  It is always beneficial to get someone independent to look at your CV to check for mistakes.

The most widely accepted format of CV is to present your career history reverse chronologically, with the most recent position first.  Employments should be displayed as a dated list with the responsibilities and achievements listed against each one.   More space can be allocated to the more recent positions, since these are where your most important achievements are usually found. 

List your professional, higher education and secondary education qualifications and any recent/relevant vocational training. Focus on the most applicable qualifications such as professional and degree rather than your GCSEs.

Responsibilities are best laid out using bullet points. You can highlight key words that you think match the job specification in bold type.  In order to illustrate how well you have performed in each role, your list of responsibilities should be supplemented by a list of achievements.

How does an achievement differ from a responsibility?  An achievement is a way that you have added value to an organisation.  Have you managed to solve any problems at work?  Have you saved the business money? Have you implemented any changes?  Have you significantly helped improve the business?

Your CV should include a short summary (one or two sentences) on your personality, skills (project management, communication skills, analytical ability) and career goals.  This should be written as objectively as possible.  This statement can be tailored to the specific job you are applying for, but for the purposes of sending your CV to CMC Consulting, this should be generic, picking up on your transferable skills. 

Don’t forget your achievements and roles of responsibility outside of work. There may be something that you do in your personal time that has a direct bearing on your suitability for a particular role.  Of course not everything will be relevant, but your outside pursuits may demonstrate that you are interested in a particular industry that you have built up background knowledge of. Have you organised any fundraising activities?  Have you acted as the treasurer of any organisation?  Do you teach in your spare time?