CV Writing - Do's and Don'ts

How good and clear is your CV? Do you have what the industry asks for on yours or is there too much/not enough on it? Your CV is your marketing tool to find the perfect job and should be as individual as you are. Read my blog for some do's and do not's.

Whilst researching this blog I came across some amazing CV’s and some not so amazing ones.  I’ve seen references to “TikTok” resume’s which are a way of uploading a short, sharp, and snappy CV video version of you. They seem to primarily be used by people who are looking for roles in the digital marketing industry and are popular in America, but they could find their way to little old Jersey. (If you’re interested in reading about TikTok resume's please click this link  TikTok Resume's).   

Let’s start at the top.  Unless you’re a formatting whiz, I would always advise keeping the layout simple and easy to follow.  Don’t use capitals as they shout at the reader, find a font that suits you but nothing too fancy either as that can be distracting, think of the colour of your font, we’ve recently seen CV’s in light grey which can be a challenge to read.  Always remember, you want to portray the best version of yourself so have that in mind when you’re thinking about how you want your CV to look.  Also, you don't need to have a title like CV, Curriculum Vitae or Resume on it.  It will be obvious to the reader what it is.

As I’m sure you can imagine, here at Park, we see hundreds of CV’s every year. Some are beautiful to behold but don’t hold the information that we need in order to gain an understanding of the sender’s work or academic history and what drives them.  Others are very simplistic and can hold too much information.   Keep your CV short, to the point and direct.

Now the body of your CV and what to include…..

Well, the obvious must haves are your name, email address and contact telephone number.  You don’t need to include your address, date of birth, or gender but if you're applying for a role where you need to be able to drive, include that information.  Talking email addresses, one thing I would say is please make sure your email address is appropriate.  Whilst gorillaboy02 is funny to you and your mates, a potential employer probably won’t think so.  If you do have a “funny” email address think about setting up a new one just for job hunting and professional purposes.  If you are on LinkedIn add your details, but if you are not then that’s another thing to consider as it is another avenue for employers to find you (don’t forget to ensure that your LinkedIn page is also up to date and mirrors your CV).

What should come next?  The next thing should be your Personal Statement.  This should be tailored to suit each role you apply for.  Remember your personal statement is a precis of the really important parts of your CV.  Highlight your strengths, achievements, and perhaps finish with a line or two about what you’re hoping to achieve from a new role.  At Park, we think your personal statement is a really important area of a CV as it’s a snapshot of the person applying for the job.  It’s often the first thing an employer will read so it is really important to get it right.  Take your time writing it. Perhaps do your personal statement after you’ve finished your CV, that way you can easily highlight the parts of each of your previous roles/experiences that are relevant and will help you stand out.  At the end of the day, we want YOU to get the job.  If you’re unsure how long to make your personal statement, we’d advise keeping it short.  Between 50 – 200 words.

Work experience should come next.  Any prospective employer wants to know where you’ve worked, how long you were there and your position within the organisation including progression.  Under this you should write in bullet form what your duties were.  Start with your current role and work backwards.  Ensure that your duties are relevant to the role you’re applying for so that anyone reading your CV can see how well your experience matches the role you want to apply for.

Next should come your Education and Qualifications including any professional qualifications you have gained.  It’s really important to include details of your education and academic qualifications, especially if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for.  What you put on this section will vary vastly depending on what stage you are at in your career and what level of education you reached.

If you have a degree and years of work experience, you don’t really need to include your GCSE results in detail as this will waste space and doesn’t really reflect on your ability to carry out the role you are applying for.  But, if you’re a recent graduate with a strong academic record, include your exam results as this may help you to stand out from other people applying for the position.  Again there is a timeline for this.  Your most recent qualifications at the top and work backwards.  Include the years you studied and the name of the institute. 

At the bottom of your CV, include your Skills, experience and achievements.  This should include anything that can help demonstrate how perfect you are for the role you’re applying for.  So, if you can speak any foreign languages, this is where to put it and how fluent you are.  So, for example, if you can speak Mandarin but are a beginner with basic understanding make sure you note that.  If you are competent in any IT packages make sure you include that here too and how proficient you are.  Any adhoc training you might have done like say you’ve trained to be a fire marshal, hold a current first aid certificate or similar pop it here, this is the place to note anything that will enhance your employability. 

Another good thing to put under this heading is if you’ve done any volunteering, especially if it’s relevant to the industry you’re wanting to work in and you have limited work experience, this will boost your CV.

Add your professional achievements to this section too, potential employers want to see evidence of what you’ve done in your professional career to this point.  This will help them see that you can add to the growth of their team, department or organisation and will help them see that you could really be an asset. 

The end of your CV should include what you do in your spare time, Hobbies and Interests.  You’re allowed to have down time but keep it short and appropriate. 

Try not to write in the 1st person. You don’t need to include a photo, which we have seen on a lot of CV’s, and most importantly keep your CV up to date and relevant! Keep adding any new skills, experiences, and qualifications as you achieve them, even if you’re not currently thinking of leaving your job.  When the time comes and you do want to seek new opportunities, your CV will be ready to get out there.

My most important take away is to proofread, then read it again and get someone else to check your CV as well as it’s common to miss your own mistakes. I can’t say it enough as for example,  if you’ve written great attention to detail but have spelt something wrong, forgotten a comma or have bad grammar then your CV will end up in the wastebin.

If you’re stuck and need a little help with your CV, give us a call.  Park will always try and help you get the best out of your skills.