Now is the perfect time to ensure your CV is performing as well as it can be. With projects such as Crossrail, HS2, Hinkley Point, and Thames Tideway looking for workers across the board, it’s important to ensure your CV highlights your strengths and achievements to help you land that all-important interview.
Your CV is introduction sales brochure or document that needs to highlight the features and benefits of employing you to a potential employer. It needs to not only tick their essential requirements boxes for them, it should also make you stand out. Key pieces of information are a given on any CV, such as contact information, personal statement, education and experience, but it’s the way you order and adapt each of these to suit the specific role that will ensure your CV stands out from the rest.
Below, our specialist recruitment consultants offer some advice for writing a successful CV:
1. Give the employer what they want
Think about what will be most important to an employer in terms of your relevant experience.
Amanda Mortimer, Director of Talent and Development, suggests:
“If you’ve had a number of job roles, ensure that you expand on the ones that are most relevant to the work you’re now searching for and keep the detail of the other job roles to a minimum – this will help recruiters and employers get to the good bits quickly.”
2. Win the interview, not the job
The goal of your CV is to win an interview, which means that you don’t have to include every little detail, as that can be discussed during the interview process.
Ryan Wootten, Business Development Manager - Mechanical and Electrical, explains:
“CVs should be geared towards winning a place at interview and not towards landing the job – that’s what the interview is for. Too much information is overkill – CVs are seldom read in great detail so should be kept short and to the point. Win the chance to interview with a concise, relevant CV.”
3. Match your skills to the job
Read and re-read the job description given by the employer and pick out any key skills or experience they require which match up to your own, then arrange them by order of importance to the company or role.
Amanda Mortimer explains:
“Ensure your CV starts with an impressive profile that clearly states your key skills and competencies but also what job role you’re now looking for. Tailoring your CV for each role impresses employers and ensures you are carrying out a focused job hunt.”
Michael Simon, Consulting Expert - Commercial, suggests making your CV stand out by “putting at least one key achievement at the end of each role.”
4. Be specific
Employers are not just looking for a list of previous jobs; they are looking for an understanding of your competencies and your ability to do the role. Gareth Bone, Business Development Manager - Built Environment, explains:
“Focus on the skills and experience which demonstrate how you would add value to the company in question. Explain what you did, how you did it, and highlight any achievements. For permanent positions, I’d suggest limiting the detail in previous job roles you list to only the most relevant ones for the role you’re applying for.”
5. Keep it snappy
A CV needs to get across a lot of information quickly. As a general rule, try to stick to two pages and make it relevant to each role to help you cut out unnecessary text.
Stephen O’Connell, Business Development Manager - Rail and Civils, advises:
“Keep your CV brief and relevant. No hiring manager has time to read through 10 pages of work history. If you have a broad background, it’s a good idea to focus your CV on the role you’re applying for. Use bullet points and make it easy on the eye.”
Amanda Mortimer gives some advice on how to cut down text and improve your image:
“If you’re searching for a permanent role and have had a number of concurrent contract roles, consider adding these to your CV in one block to avoid looking like a job hopper.”
6. Think like a recruiter
When reviewing your CV, think like an employer and cross-reference with the job description and information you’ve found out about the company during your research. Would you give yourself the job? If not, why not?
Richard Lawrance, CEO, Resourcing Solutions, explains how using a recruitment consultant can be a huge benefit to your job search:
“Recruitment consultants will support you throughout the recruitment process. This shouldn’t be limited to just advising you on how best to promote your skills to get exposure to the best opportunities, but preparing you with CV advice, interview tips, and gearing it to who you’ll be meeting. On top of this, they should manage feedback from yourself and the employer to quickly determine job fit, and assist you in negotiating the right remuneration package. Recruiters should support you through the often stressful process of resigning, working your notice, and throughout those early months in the new job, to ensure you settle in to your new role quickly.”
Finally, be sure to proof read your CV multiple times before submitting it to eliminate any errors.