How to write CV's and LinkedIn profiles that work!

Posted by Nigel Wilson on 25 April 2014 | Comments

During the past few months, a lot of people have asked me for advice about their CV’s. In fact a lot more than usual. The job market is buoyant and people are on the move. Many individuals held tight during the recession, and now they’re ready to seek a new role, they want their CV to stand out.

Frankly I’ve been shocked by the amount so-called expert CV Writers are charging. Anything up to £500. And on top of this, some CV Writers have ‘volunteered’ to write an individual’s LinkedIn profile - again for a tidy sum!

So let’s cut to the chase. Unless you’re illiterate with half a brain, you really don’t need to pay a 3rd party to write your CV, let alone your LinkedIn profile. Really - you don’t!

Fact: a CV is simply a tool to get you an interview. It just needs to fulfill some basic criteria.

So what are these criteria? Well, above all, it needs to be attractive; attractive to look at and to attract attention. What makes a CV attractive? Just a few basics - layout, font size, length, and with all the key information easy to find. Definitely no fancy fonts or text-boxes!

The key information needs to stand out under simple headings: your name and contact details (not including your date of birth); your personal profile; your top 6 skills; your top 6 career achievements (preferably during the past 10 years); your career summary starting with your current role and working back; your education and qualifications (including languages and software); and finally your out-of-work interests

That’s it. No more. Under your career summary, detail your employer, the dates you worked there, your job-title, and your key responsibilities. No need to list your achievements as you’ve already done that. But if you really must, then no more than 2 per role. And keep the language simple. No ‘management or marketing speak’.

Also, you don’t need to go back more than 15 years in your career, other than list your earlier roles by employer, job-title and dates.

Less is more. Believe me. Remember, your CV is just to get you an interview. Think of an advert for a car. If it listed every feature, it would become a blur and you’d be bored stiff after 30 seconds. The ad is there to attract attention, make an impression, and create a call to action. So is your CV.

PS - My next blog will be about how to create a punchy, professional LinkedIn profile

For further information visit the Candidate page - CV tips