To get started on your CV download one of the templates below, alternatively you can use the CV builder. This will take you to a popular job searching website, once you have created an account you are able to create your CV.
How to avoid common phrases on your CV
The presentation and structure of your CV is essential. So many people follow run of the mill phrases and key words. Due to the over use of these, recruiters have become resistant to certain phrases, this means your CV doesn’t stand out and may affect your odds of getting to the interview stage.
This is meaningless; you need to give a real life example. Have you worked within a team to achieve a specific goal? What was the role you played?
Project Management Skills
This is an elaborate way of saying you are organised. Potential employers want to know what you have done in your current/previous role to demonstrate your qualities.
Employers are running a business and want you to provide examples on how you can help resolve their problems.
Have you helped save money in your current role, if so how much? Did you achieve your targets in the face of a difficult situation?
People Management Skills
Does this mean your current/previous role involved managing people? Or do you mean you got on really well with your work colleagues? Management implies you had a position of responsibility over others and could confuse potential employers if you didn’t hold a management role.
We are all responsible for something, but that doesn’t mean we are responsible. Did you train staff or introduce a new initiative? Did you rescue a failing project and turn it around? Give examples of past experience, this will help put you in a stronger position.
Although I don’t have much experience in...
Prospective employers aren’t instantly attracted to candidates that consistently apologise. Not only does it show a lack of confidence in your capability to do the job at hand, it also highlights your short comings instead of focusing on what skills you actually do have. If it’s a skill or qualification that is essential for the job you are applying for, apologising isn’t going to influence the employer to consider you, and if it’s not 100% necessary, why mention it? Either way you are unlikely to ever come out in a positive light after your admission. In fact, if you doubt yourself the employers will probably doubt you too.
Always think about what you can offer the role, NOT what you can’t
Emphasis your skills and experience you have that make you a good fit, and draw attention to those instead. Be positive confident and sure of your abilities and prospective employers will too. Let’s face is, multitasking is important in almost every role.
I’m great at multi-tasking
Let’s face is, multi-tasking is important for almost every role. Unfortunately, this has led to a phrase which has been so over used in CV’s, that it’s probably lost all importance to employers. This is not saying that the ability to multi-task isn’t a valuable quality. However simply including that you are good at it provides little value to prospective employers. You actually need to back it up.
Think of relevant examples of when you have put your multi-tasking skills to the test, and how they have been employed to benefit business. It is all about how you say it, not just about what you say.
Talk about any tasks you have done that demonstrates your multitasking skills and use them to quantify your claims
I am a team player who also works well alone
Chances are you will be good in a group and working individually. Most people are. However, the real problem with this phrase isn’t the fact that it’s notoriously overused. It’s that it really doesn’t say a lot. To an employer, saying you are a team player, who also works well alone, just looks like a slightly lazy way of trying to cover all bases, because you feel that maybe, one of them might be necessary for the role.
To avoid Prospective employers skimming over this point make it mean more. Exhibit a time where you have provided accomplishment working in a team or how you have completed tasks self-sufficiently. It will sound much better than the generic wording, not to mention represent your skills more accurately.
I’m a perfectionist
Whether you use this phrase on its own, or combine it with its even more irritating prefix ‘my biggest weakness is’ this point simply has no place on your CV. Even if you genially are a perfectionist this over exaggerated character defining phrase often translates as ‘I am really meticulous over minor details’.
In reality nothing is perfect – especially in the workplace. If an employer reads about your obsessions with perfection in your CV, they may be left wondering how you would really react when things don’t go to plan. Either that or you are trying to pretend you have now real weakness, other than your pursuit of importance, which regrettably is something Prospective employers can spot a mile off.
Be honest, if you give Prospective employers enough of your skills, achievements and experience they will be able to make an informed decision on what you are really like and never ever bring up weaknesses on your CV. Save it for the interview.
I am a people person
Although this attribute is incredibly important to have for a number of jobs, it’s a bad idea to include it on your CV.
As with most clichéd phrases, it doesn’t have much meaning.
Doesn’t everyone have the ability to speak to other people?
Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your people skills, but display them in a way that effectually describes your communication skills, customer service experiences, and affability, all at the same time. Proven instances and examples of successful interaction and good relationships with colleagues or customers will always work in your favour.
Information sourced www.monster.co.uk
Your CV needs to make the reader believe you are a worthwhile product
Companies generally all have the same objective:
Developing their business
Creating new products/services
They need to find candidates who will help them achieve these objectives.
Regardless of experience the rules are the same.
Show what you have done, or have the potential to bring to the table. Achievements come in all shapes and sizes and are different for every job. Some you will be able to show like percentage increases in sales of money saved by stream lining, others you will need to work harder to show what influence you had on a project
Try to pick a specific example per job you have held, explain briefly how it improved the business.
Do not include too much detail. Provide just enough information to entice the Prospective employers to invite you in for an interview. This then allows you to explain in exact detail the tasks, achievements and responsibilities you have undertaken and the skills you have learned.
Using abbreviations on your CV is a No No. Don’t do it. Even more so if you are changing industry completely. No matter what the job is do not under any circumstances use abbreviations.
The first person that evaluates your CV is someone in HR, they may not be an expert in your field so using abbreviations won’t get you to the interview stage.
Technology has made everyone’s life easier when it comes to recruitment, from uploading your CV, to online databases or even video CV that gives a visual overview of what you can offer their company. If a CV is uploaded using technology and abbreviations are used then there is a good chance some of your skills might be missed.
Information sourced www.monster.co.uk
You need to decide what your unique selling point and use it.
What makes you different from anyone else and why should prospective employers consider you for a job above everyone else?
Prospective employers may receive hundreds of applications for each vacancy. So it is imperative you make your CV stand out and get shortlisted. Think about how other people see you. The way you see yourself maybe different to how everyone else sees you. It might be a skill you excel at but you consider being routine, this could be highly regarded and desired by others.
Potential employers don’t buy skills they buy solutions
How can you make the company money?
How can you save the company money?
How can you resolve the problems they have?
By thinking more about your skills and abilities you might realise you are especially talented at solving complex problems.
So your unique selling point is
‘A Project Manager who excels at identifying and solving problems’
Calculate how much money you have generated or saved your current/previous employer and then add this to your unique selling point.
‘A Project Manager who excels at identifying and solving problems, saving my current employers more than £……. While completing projects in excess of 1 million over the last ……. Years.
Prospective employers can see they will get a return on their investment if they hire you. Think about what the needs are of the Prospective employers and how you can provide solutions.
Don’t list unique selling points. Sell them by demonstrating experience.
Anyone can have strong organisational skills, but not everyone can give examples of instances where they have implemented these attributes.
Information sources www.monster.co.uk
Mistakes to avoid on your CV
Not targeting your CV to the kind of job you are looking for
Leaving out keywords that a scanner can pick up
Failing to list your achievements in a way the reader will find meaningful
Forgetting to leave out information that could be used to discriminate against you there
Sending it in the wrong format
All these slight errors add up quickly giving the first impression that you are sloppy, meaning your CV gets tossed in the bin.
Tip 1. Don’t rely exclusively on spell check when proof reading. Word processing will not fix all your mistakes on your CV. Word will sometimes pick up something grammatical you auto correct it and bam you have written a sentence on your CV that doesn’t make sense.
Tip 2. Generic CV’s are everywhere, try to tailor your CV to match the requirements listed in the job advertisements you are applying for.
Tip 3. Send it in the correct formal; follow the instructions given when sending your CV electronically. If none are given then follow these basic steps:
If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, make sure the text in the document allows you to scan (Word or something similar) is the best for this
PDF’s and other image files will not allow your CV to be scanned for keywords which means you lose out on a potential job offer
This is equally important when uploading your CV to job sites
If an address is given and you are asked to post out your CV then print out your CV and send out in an A4 envelope. It might be worth considering using quality paper and matching envelopes
Ensure you pay the correct amount when posting (You don’t want the potential employer having to pay the outstanding postage)
Information sources www.monster.co.uk
First impressions count
In nearly every instance, your CV is the first think an employer will see when you apply for a new job and unlike at an interview you can’t simply rely on your charm, wit and good looks to win over your audience. You only have words and your computer and your fancy typeface to get by.
Unfortunately, no matter how suited to a certain role you may be, your words can sometimes be your downfall.
There is no doubt that the main purpose of your CV is to detail your experience, job history, and suitability for a position. However, as with body language, some of what you actually end up saying to the reader may be unintentional.
Essentially, it’s not just what you say that counts, but also the way you say it.
Not only should your CV be informative, it should also be professional, compelling and well-written. Even if the person reading it isn’t quite as pedantic about their punctuation, a missed apostrophe or simple spelling mistake can often spell the end of your chances. Although this is by no means a comprehensive list, we’ve gathered some of the repeat offenders below, to help you take control of those all-too-often glaring grammatical errors.
Firstly, let’s not get bogged down by the details. We could, of course, use this article to explain the proper use of possessive pro-nouns and help you correct your contractions but, quite frankly, not even we would want to read that.
To put it simply:
Your – Relating to/owned by you (‘your blog’, ‘your job’, ‘your delightful suburban semi-detached abode’).
You’re – You are
Possible CV Example:
Thank you for your consideration.
I am aware that you’re currently looking to fill the position of Sales Associate.
Its – Not it is
It’s – It is
When reading back over your (see what we did there?) CV, always check any uses of apostrophes, especially when it comes to the its/it’s rule. The simplest barometer is to read the sentence out loud, replacing both uses with ‘it is’ as you read.
If it makes no sense whatsoever, leave the apostrophes well alone.
Possible CV Example:
When the company reviewed its social media strategy, the changes I instigated had a positive impact.
I enjoy correcting people’s spelling mistakes. It’s something that gives me a great sense of superiority.
The there/their/they’re paradox is probably the most common grammatical issue to go against a candidate’s CV. Basically, as there are three possible options, there are two other ways of getting it wrong (motivational speech on standby). If you’re not sure of this rule, learn it. It will come up daily.
There – Used when referring to a place or object (whether physical or abstract)
Their – When something belongs to them
They’re – They are
Possible CV Example:
Whilst working there, I learned a lot.
Unfortunately, their decision to downsize meant that I lost my job.
They’re really going to regret that decision. Trust me.
Affect – To influence something
Effect – The result of something
The majority of the time, affect is used as a verb, and effect as a noun. We feel the need to note the word majority (just in case you missed the italics). It’s worth noting that effect can sometimes be used as a verb.
However, as opposed to the pesky ‘i before e, except after c’ rule (don’t even get us started), most of the time this one sticks.
Possible CV Example:
Taking a Project Management course had a major effect on my productivity levels.
Taking a PRINCE2® course is positively affecting my time management skills and knowledge of key project management practices.
Other grammatical errors to avoid: loose/lose, im/I’m, i.e./e.g., LOLZ
Don’t rush it. A day spent on your CV is better than six months of waiting for a reply.
DO NOT rely on spellcheck. It will not pick up any of the mistakes highlighted above.
Make sure you’re reading your CV through, and not reciting it. If you keep saying it out loud without thinking, you might not spot the mistake.
ALWAYS get someone to proofread your CV when you’ve finished. Something which makes sense to you may not make sense to the person reading it.
If in doubt, avoid abbreviations in general. Not only will you cut down on mistakes, you’ll also make what you’ve written more formal.
Information sources www.monster.co.uk
Key Skills that all CV's need
A CV needs to demonstrate all of your skills. Ideally you will be able to link your key skills to work place experience but if this is not possible then try to think of ways in which you have used them outside of employment situations.
Most Key Skills fall into one of three categories:
Transferable skills - These are skills which have been acquired in one setting, but can be used in many different sorts of business
We all have transferable skills even if we don’t recognise them as such. Sometimes your current employer won’t make it obvious that the skills you have acquired with them are transferable because they don’t necessarily want you to realise how employable you are elsewhere.
Reading and writing related skills means you are able to digest written information and present it in written form as well
Computer Skills – If you have aptitude with computers and common office programs then consider this to be a transferable skill. If you have recognised qualification this is even better
Management experience – If you have managed people before then you could transfer this experience to benefit another type of employer
Commercial Skills – People who can negotiate and handle figures like turnover and gross profit often possess the sort of business acumen which is sought after in many organisations
Deadline Success – Being able to work to deadlines is something that doesn’t happen in all jobs, but if you are used to it then this is a desired skill in many companies
So what are your transferable skills? Once of the biggest challenges when it comes to a career change is giving your CV the punch it needs to make an impact in a new industry. You may think that little of what you have done before will count, but you would be wrong. We all pick up and develop a wide range of skills that can be applied in many different roles. Transferable skills are something that can be taken with you and applied in any new job. There are core skills that all employers value.
People skills – Your ability to communicate, motivate, coach and train people
Technical skills – Knowledge of popular computer programs, or more practical skills like an ability to construct or repair things
Data Skills – Good record keeping, detailed statistical analysis or research skills
Job Related Skills – These skills are specific to a certain line of employment or trade and may require you to have received training to perform. These are more specific than transferable skills; job related ones can get you work with another employer who needs them.
Although there are nearly as many job related skills as there are jobs try not to let this restrict you. If you do feel trapped by your job related skills and have trouble breaking out into a new area of work, then look at some news ones, by enrolling on to training courses.
Adaptive Skills – These sorts of aptitudes are sometimes less obvious and harder to quantify because they rely on personality traits rather than learning
Ideal skills for CV personal statements or even cover letter, adaptive skills can also be listen in your work experience if you prefer. Think about the sort of personality you have when discussing your adaptive skills. Some of the key ones to look at include:
Team Working – Not everyone is a team player, but team working is an important adaptive skill that many employers are looking for
Loyalty – Been in your job for a long time and seen it through thick and thin? This is an adaptive skill to mention on your CV
Positivity – If you are the sort of person who sees the glass half full and not half empty, then this shows your positivity. Employers tend to favour positive people so mention this as an adaptive skill
Creativity – Some jobs cry out for creative people if you paint, play music or even good at telling jokes then this may show off your creative skills
Adaptability – Being flexible is something we all need in the workplace, from time to time, some are better at it than others so don’t discount your adaptability as a skill
Tenacity – Taking ownership of problems and seeing them through is a key skill in many organisations. If you can demonstrate this from your past career then include it on your CV
Although adaptive skills may seem like the least important ones to mention because they are not specific to the job you are applying for, they can often mark you out from other candidates. Don’t overlook the importance of your blend of adaptive skills which are unique to you.
Be proud of your skills.
Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:15 PM
Starting your CV
Your CV is your selling brochure. Allowing you to pinpoint your unique selling points, these make you stand out from the crowd.
Your CV should cover key elements:
Ensure you include your full name, address (make sure it is in full and no abbreviations like rd for Road or Av for Avenue) an e-mail address and mobile number (Home phone is good too).
Your personal Statement
This is a mini-advert for you and should summarise your:
skills and qualities
work background and achievements
It should only be a few lines and needs to grab the reader’s attention. Try not to use terms like ‘reliable, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’ or ‘good communicator’. These are viewed a lot by employers, and they don’t help to build up an individual picture of you.
If the job involves working with people, try to show your people skills by uses phrases like: ‘negotiating’, ‘effectively dealing with demanding customers’, ‘handling conflict’ or ‘showing empathy’. These help the reader build up a picture of your skills, knowledge and experience. Keep it short - you can go into more detail later.
When describing your career aims, think about the employer you’re sending the CV to. Make your careers aims sound just like the kind of opportunities they currently have.
Employment history and work experience
You’ll usually put your employment history first if you’ve been working for a few years. If you don’t have much work experience, focus on your your education and training.
Start with the job you’re doing now, or the last job you had, and work backwards. You need to include your employer’s name, the dates you worked for them, your job title and your main tasks. On the jobs that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, give examples of the skills you used and what you achieved.
Use bullet pointed lists and positive language. Use ‘action’ words to describe what you did in your job like: ‘achieved’, ‘designed’, ‘established’, ‘supervised’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘created’ or ‘transformed’.
Relate your skills and experience to the job description, person specification or what you think the employer is looking for. Also include any relevant temporary work and volunteering experience.
Try not to have any gaps in your work history. If you had time out travelling, job seeking, volunteering or caring for a relative, include them with details of what you learned and the skills you gained.
Education and training
Start with your most recent qualifications and work back to the ones you got at school. Use bullet points or a table and include:
the university, college or school you went to
the dates the qualifications were awarded and any grades
any work-related courses, if they're relevant
Hobbies and Interests
Include hobbies, interests and achievements that are relevant to the job. If you're involved in any clubs or societies, this can show that you enjoy meeting new people. Interests like sports and physical recreation activities can also show employers that you are fit and healthy.
Don’t just put activities that you would do alone like reading, bird-watching or playing video games, unless they relate directly to the job that you are applying for. They may leave employers wondering how sociable you are. Make your activities specific and varied.
You can include this section if you need to add anything else that's relevant.
You may need to explain a gap in your employment history, like travelling or family reasons. You could also include other relevant skills here, such as if you have a driving licence or can speak any foreign languages.
At least one referee should be work-related. Or, if you haven't worked for a while, you could use another responsible person who has known you for some time.
You can list your referees on your CV or just put 'references available on request'. If you decide to include their details you should explain the relationship of each referee to you – for example 'Claire Turner, line manager'.
Your CV shouldn’t be any longer than 2 pages. Why? The person who is looking at it only has 2 hands, so any more than 2 and some information might be missed.
Resist jazzing up your CV with images or colour.
Stick to Times New Roman or Arial font type to make it easier to read
Check it, check it again and then get someone else to check it. Don’t put your faith in the spell checker; these are set to American as default. Make sure your CV is error free; the first thing a prospective employer does to weed out potential candidates is check it for errors, even if the role doesn’t require a high level of literacy. Spelling errors scream lack of care which is an undesirable quality.
You are writing your CV for the reader, not yourself. Make it short, to the point and interesting.
Stand out from the crowd; make sure your CV demonstrates your unique blend of skills and experience. Make sure you include examples of commercial success problem resolution or management achievements
Keep it simple – Your choice of font and layout are key to making sure a would be employer carries on reading your CV. Simple formats work best
Don’t be generic – Work out who or what industry sector your CV is destined for and tailor it to highlight the right aspects of your experience for them
Check and check again – Avoid errors at all costs. This means spelling mistakes, dates which conflict with one another and incorrect e-mail address/phone numbers
Update before firing off an old CV will look unprofessional, make sure that yours is regularly updated to meet the requirements of any job advertised
Do not assume your CV is finished. Every job is different and remembers tailoring your CV accordingly is vital to standing out. Edit it in line with the job description whenever you make an application, you will be able to ensure it matches the specification every time.
Information Sources https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/get-a-job/cv-sections
Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:16 PM