Creating a great CV

With hirers and recruiters spending less than 6 seconds on average looking at a CV, first impressions are key. Your CV not only needs to promote your achievements but also make you stand out from the other applicants.

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LHH guide to creating a powerful CV

Keep the format of your CV simple and easy to read

Easy wins

  • Use bullet points – it makes it easier for a hirer to scan your CV
  • Highlight key words – hirers will be looking for specific words or phrases linked to the role you are applying for so make sure these are included and well sign posted
  • Don’t have long sentences or paragraphs – vital information will be lost if buried in a long sentence so keep it short
  • Keep your CV to 2 pages of A4
  • Focus on what you have achieved - try to avoid talking about what we or the team has done. Your CV needs to be about what achievements you have accomplished.

CV structure - the basics

What your CV needs to include:

Your contact details

This needs to be at the top of page 1 and ensure you have your full name, address, contact details including your email address.

Personal profile

This is your opportunity to tell the hirer something about yourself. What motivates you, what are your career goals, what qualifications or experience do you have that will make you a good fit for the job. This section should not be long, keep it to 3 sentences max.

List your educational achievements or your work experience

What comes next after your personal profile depends on what skills or experience you have that will best demonstrate how you are going to succeed in the role you are applying for.

If you are at the beginning of your career, you may have more educational qualifications than work experience, so start with your educational achievements first. The key is to highlight what you have achieved and how these can help you succeed in the role.

With both qualifications and work experience always start with your most recent work experience/qualification and then work backwards.

Work experience

For each period of work experience, list your job title, name of company and the period of time you were there.

A hirer will want to know what you have achieved at that place so don’t simple describe what you did, highlight what you achieved.

Bullet point each achievement and where possible group your achievements into sub-sections under a clear sub-heading. For example, communication skills are a key element of many HR roles. Create a sub-section to detail examples of how you have demonstrated strong communication skills and the outcomes.

Include any awards or accolades you may have gained during your employment/work experience as this reflects positively on your approach to work.

Education

List the name of where you studied and the dates you were there, each qualification and the grade you received.

Interests

This is an optional section and many people do not include it. If you do, think about what additional information you are telling the hirer that could make you a better candidate.

For example, if you volunteer for the Samaritans and you are applying for a HR role, this could be good to include because it shows your interest in people’s wellbeing. Whereas if you are a keen swimmer, it may not be worth including as it would not add any value to this particular role.

References

Don’t waste space on your CV listing the contact details of each reference. A single line saying ‘Available on request’ will be fine.

Customise your CV for each application

Whilst it is easy to just apply for a role using your standard CV, you could be missing out on an interview by not tailoring your CV for each application. Your CV could be missing out on key words that are specific to the role you are applying for, or you may need to rearrange the order of your achievements if a particular role has a greater emphasis on a specific skill.

It might take a bit of time to tweak your CV for each application but those little changes could make the difference to getting an interview or not.

Good luck!

 

LHH career support

LHH is the UK's largest provider of outplacement services and we have been helping candidates for over 50 years successfully transition in their careers. For more information on how LHH can help you please contact us.

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