The minefield that is writing a good CV
When it comes to securing a new role, a CV is often your one and only chance to make a good impression and get your foot in the door. Employers can look through hundreds of CVs each week, but how do you make sure it hits the sweet spot and stands out from the crowd?
After 16 years in recruitment, I’ve been through more than my fair share of CVs. There is no right or wrong way to build a successful CV, but here are just a few tips I have picked up over my time in the industry:
Layout vs. content
Focus on getting the content right and keep the formatting clean and easy to read. Unless you’re an aspiring Graphic Designer, there is no need to spend hours designing a masterpiece.
Keep it concise
I often come across CVs that are pages and pages long, but this isn’t the way to go to grab your reader’s attention. It’s merely a taster of where you have been and what you have achieved and should be very concise. The length is always going to vary depending on your experience, but try to aim for no more than two pages.
Be accurate at all times. This includes an updated home address/location, as well as absolute dates regarding your employment history and recent training courses. Incorrect details suggest a lazy approach to your application, so make sure you are reviewing the content in your CV regularly.
Highlight tangible achievements
Basing your CV around your tangible achievements (as opposed to duties) will increase your chances of securing interviews. You can do this by writing a detailed list of your key achievements under each previous role e.g. Income Recovery Officer – Took over a patch of mixed tenure properties in South London and decreased arrears from 12% to 8% within three months.
Include personal achievements for all levels of work. It definitely shows you to be a more rounded person. If you raised money for charity, how much did you raise and what did you do to achieve this? If you won an award at university, what was the challenge set and how were you rewarded?
It’s not just about you
Highlight team achievements as well as your individual successes. This allows you to demonstrate your ability as a ‘team player’ without directly saying it. But again, make sure you are specific – outline your role and state what you contributed in detail.
Fine-tuning your CV is crucial to getting yourself ahead of the rest and on to the next step in the hiring process – the interview. If you’ve read this far and ticked all the boxes along the way, your CV should be just about ready to send in!
Holly is an Account Director with recruitment services provider, Retinue Housing. She has been recruiting into the housing sector for the past 16 years working across Asset Management and Housing Services.