Your CV is a very personal document. Many people will dictate the format of the 'professional' CV, and I am sure some may disagree with some of our advice but as we are receiving and assessing CVs all day long, here are some of the things we look for that we hope might help you...
Most people assessing CVs do not have a lot of time to study them and you need to grab their attention immediately.
Start your CV with a brief overview of yourself
This should be a maximum of 50 - 100 words and outline why a future employer should consider you. This is quite useful because you can change this to suit individual applications.
Include details of your qualifications places of study and dates (although sometimes less is more, don’t list every single exam passed – only those relevant to your chosen career).
Follow this with details of your career roles, most recent first
It helps us a lot when trying to make sense of each role to understand a bit more about the places you have worked….it's ok if you have worked for Coca-Cola but if not, we may not know anything about the companies you have worked for.. include a brief explanation of the type of each business, the sector, location and even size (we can look this up on the internet but it’s a real help if you can add this)…
..and then list in bullet point form your key responsibilities and main relevant achievements.
Stick to the facts and avoid too much body copy and avoid using 'internal' corporate jargon – we won’t understand it. Try to take a step back and think like an outsider. Briefly explain the structure and how you interact within it. For example "one of five designers reporting to a studio manager, working directly with the marketing department.”
If you work in an agency make sure you list your clients and the type of projects if you are an account handler, remember to add the financial value of those accounts too.
Adding reasons for leaving can be helpful too and can help explain sudden moves which might make potential employers worry.
You may wish to add hobbies and interests
This can be a tricky one, an interest may really connect to the reader or it may turn them off completely, without knowing the reader personally it is difficult to know how they might react. For example rock climbing – one prospective employer may also be a rock climber and see this as a connection, another might see it as a potential for accidents and time off work!
We have some clients who actually like to see this information. Lots of interests can show a well rounded and balanced individual. However remember you must be able to support this information at interview so don't add anything that you are not truly involved in and passionate about, the rock climbing potential boss might start asking technical questions!
It sounds daft but always include your contact details (we really have received CVs with no contact details), but double check phone number – typos are easy.
Above all, be honest, some people will advise you to brush over some areas of your CV to "get in front of the client" but.. the client isn't daft....they will find out what you were trying to hide at interview and all you will end up doing is wasting everyone’s time and your travel costs. Be honest about what you have done, can do and want to do in the future, both in the words you use and the style and format you choose ….if the job is right for you, you will get the interview and the job.