Employment history – CV tips

The main component of your CV should be the careers history – this is the section which allows you to really sell your skills and abilities. You should look to tackle this by summarising your role and then bullet pointing your remit, ensuring you contextualise the information. It is important for you as the writer to create a mental image for the reader to really get a grasp of what it is you actually do, job titles can be very misleading and I do not condone changing these in your CV so it is important to make sure you are making your description of the role as true to form as possible.

Here’s an example of a role and remit which is not ideal:

Project Coordinator                                                                                            

Duties: worked successfully within a project team that developed the best scheduling practices to meet client project plans easing project monitoring and control, making tracking of critical paths effective and preventive measures applied to them reducing lead times.

  • Working as part of a team within a fast-paced environment, focusing on delivering work to a high standard of client satisfaction
  • Assisting in planning, scheduling, resource requirements in compliance with industry, company and regulatory standards
  • Responsible for coordinating on site contractors/ subcontractors overseeing activities during the project execution phase

This description is weak as it reads like a job description, we get no real feel for the size of team, types of projects, what methods are used and generally it demonstrates a lack of real understanding for the role.

Now here’s an example which works:

Project Coordinator

Overseeing and coordinating the day to day running of multiple interdependent IT change projects by supporting project managers and senior managers. Responsible for monitoring and updating all project documentation and MI reporting

  • Reporting directly to the Senior Project Manager and supporting a team of 5 PMs in delivering interdependent projects
  • Providing an interface between the technical teams (3rd party suppliers) and senior management (internal), being the first point of contact for the provision of information on projects.
  • Ensuring that relevant management information is captured, analysed and presented via powerpoint presentations at monthly senior management meetings

These are snippets of job histories; you should look to include further information about what you do with more bullet points. Ideally you would look to perform a skills audit on yourself, list out everything you do along the project lifecycle and start to package these into relevant groups then start to formulate your bullets, ensuring you keep some context (types of projects, size of teams etc.)

Once you have written your most recent role, work backwards adopting the same formula but ensuring you do not just copy and paste details. Repetition is not good in CVs; if roles are very similar then you may decide to talk about different aspects of each role to provide some variety to the reader and also to cover all your competencies. Ideally you would look to have a “master” copy of your CV including everything you have done – you can then strip out irrelevant pieces of information to tailor your CV to specific roles, making applications a little easier for yourself and ensuring you are sending a CV which meets the role criteria.