Writing a CV from scratch

One thing we’ve all been guilty of doing is putting off writing a CV – sometimes it makes sense to start from scratch and build it up, this sounds even more daunting than reworking what you already have, even though it is very dated and surely only needs a little more work. But I beg to differ; taking a fresh look at what you should include in the CV is a great way to really get down the right kind of detail to attract employers.

Getting started:

  • Write a list of all your jobs, note dates, company names and job titles – then place them in chronological order with most recent at the top.
  • Source a professional looking template from online to help you get started and add in the jobs as above.
  • Include some information about what your main tasks were – think about why you were brought into the business and what you set about to achieve.
  • Make notesThen start to list what you actually did, how did you achieve getting from A to B. Include areas specific to your role and make sure you talk through things that set you apart from others such as working globally you may have dealt with cultural differences etc.
  • Read back through the role and make sure it is clear and concise – look at roles you may be looking to apply for which are asking for your skill-set, are you speaking the same language (terminology) and covering what they ask for?
  • Move down each role taking the above structured approach to adding in detail as you move further down the CV to older roles you should reduce the detail. Anything over 10 years old should be a line stating dates, company name, and role title as a list.
  • Add in your education and any additional training towards the end of the CV (unless you are a recent graduate, in which case this should be included at the top of the CV).
  • State some hobbies – think about what you really enjoy doing, group activities, sports, etc.
  • Now it is time to go back to the top of the CV and write a short profile about yourself; make sure it gives an overview of your skills and experience. This should be much easier to write now you have run through all your skills and experience in the role remit, all you are doing is summarising the information.
  • Place some key achievements beneath the profile and above the employment history, consider adding in where you have really added value. Employers like to see where you have gone beyond the specified role and actively reaped results.

Now you have a CV – wasn’t so hard was it? However, this new CV needs to be checked by someone else for some honest feedback. Ask them to read it and then ask them, what is it I do? If they can tell you and are correct then you are on the right track – remember when you apply for a job you will have your CV reviewed by people who may have no exposure to your job so it is imperative that you are communicating to all levels. So we’ve covered the basics, now is time to really work on terminology, target audiences, and tweaking to ensure you are keeping the emphasis on the right skills for that job (remember priorities are different for each hiring manager).

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