5 tips for writing a winning CV

Friday, June 15, 2018

Perfecting your CV isn’t a five minute job. Hiring managers can be hard people to impress; after all, they look at lots of CV’s every day – so you need to make sure yours stands out! But how can you go about writing a winning CV?

With some careful thought and hard work, you’ll soon get it right and boost your chances of being shortlisted for an interview. To help, we’ve put together a list of our five top tips to help you write a winning CV.


Tailor for every role

It can be tempting to fire off the same CV for every role you apply to. After all,  you’ve put loads of time and effort into perfecting that one version; it can feel frustrating having to adapt it again. However, not tailoring it can put you at a great disadvantage.

Hiring managers can easily spot a generic template. This means that you need to tailor your CV. Every company will have different requirements and skills that they’re looking for in a candidate and you must acknowledge this.

Start by analysing the company website and see what their missions and values are. Decide if anything sticks out to you and make notes. Then, highlight the key skills listed on the job description and think about which ones match your strengths. Now pepper these throughout your CV to show that you’re the perfect fit for the role.


Always be truthful

It can be tempting to lie on your CV, particularly when you don’t meet all the job requirements. However, if the recruiter finds out you’ve lied, that’s your application out the door! But say you get away with it, there’s a reason they’ve asked for these set requirements and you may find the role too much to handle.

Instead, you should focus on selling all your positive traits and skills and explain why you’re the perfect match for the role. This is your chance to shout about your transferable skills and how they’ll help you to succeed. In an interview, you will be able to talk far more passionately about your previous experience, rather than being quizzed (and potentially found out) about your lie.


Quantify your claims

What better way to prove yourself than with real figures? It’s great for selling yourself and showing that you have what it takes. Saying that you ‘increased sales by 10% according to year-on-year data’ is far more effective that just saying you ‘increased sales’. This tells the recruiter that you will be able to perform in the role and give them real results.

If this doesn’t suit your industry, you can use numbers in other ways. For example, saying how many team members you managed, the size of the budget you were responsible for, or how many articles you wrote each month.


Keep it concise

It’s time to cut out all the waffle. Remember, you only have two sides of A4 to sell yourself, so you must include only relevant information. Make sure everything you’ve written is straight to the point and engaging. For example, your opening personal statement should be a few lines that sums up your aim, key skills and why you’re the person they should hire.

Recruiters are busy people and won’t spend long reading your CV, so you must bear this in mind. Include only information that is relevant to the role you’re applying to. Use bullet points for your key skills to keep the information easy to digest. By doing so, the hiring manager will quickly be able to see why they should shortlist you.


Proofread your CV

Last but not least, you need to proofread your CV. It can be easy to let small mistakes and typos slip through, but you can’t afford to make these mistakes. Even a small typo suggests that you don’t have great attention to detail and may have not bothered checking your CV.

So if you don’t want to give off the wrong impression to the hiring manager (or waste hours of hard work), remember to proofread several times.  

It’s also helpful to re-read your CV at least a day after writing it - if the application isn’t time sensitive of course. This will help you pick up any more mistakes. What’s more, you should ask a friend or family member to read it as well, another person can often find something you missed.


Ready to write a winning CV?

The time and effort you put into your CV will always be worth it. Follow the tips above to help you out and you will be able to impress the hiring manager and increase your chance of being shortlisted.


CV-Library is a leading job board in the UK and advertises a range of roles across the country: from teaching, to software development. It also owns an array of other career sites, including Education Jobs.