Quick Guide: How to Write a CV CV Writing
Going back to work can be hard. Whether that means returning after time spent with a young family, time travelling, or finding something to do in retirement, there’s sadly no easy way of getting back on the professional ladder following time away.
One of the most difficult things about landing your new job is making a CV that manages to communicate your skills and experience while also being readable. It can be difficult to summarise your entire professional life in a single, two-sided document. But it doesn’t have to be.
Using this quick guide, you should be well on your way to writing that great CV that will land you a great job. Modern CVs are arranged in sections, so let’s talk about each section separately.
Your about me section should be a short summary of your professional life. You don’t want to talk about information that isn’t relevant to the job, but you do want to give an impression of your personality. This is because hiring managers are looking for people, nor robots.
With that in mind, though, there are some basic things that you should include in your About Me Section. These will give your hiring manager an indication of who you are professionally. These include:
- Your current job title
- The title of the job you’re applying for
- A useful skill
- An example of where you have succeeded in your previous job
For an example of how you should write your About Me Section, see below:
I am an experienced claims investigator looking for the next step in my career. I am applying for the position of Manager at Magna Claims Investigations because I believe it to be that next step. During my previous role, I managed to maintain a high level of customer service, receiving a 94% satisfaction rating from my customers. I am fully accredited by the FCA with Arkangel.
Your About Me Section should be a short introduction to you as a professional and ideally be fewer than 100 words.
The Skills section should contain a list of all the skills that you can bring to the role. This can include any technical skills that you gained in your previous role(s) or personal life that you can bring to your new role, as well as other general skills. This could include the ability to work as part of a team, ability to work independently, etc.
There are two options when writing your list of skills. The first is to simply list all the skills you can bring to the role. For example:
- Able to work independently or as part of a larger team
- Excellent communication skills – including a professional telephone manner and email voice
- Able to type 93 words per minute
The second option is to be far more selective with your list of skills, keeping the list to fewer than five and writing a short section beneath explaining how you used those skills in your old job/general life/at school. The more applicable these skills are for your new role, the better your chances of being noticed by the hiring manager — so make sure that you’ve chosen your skills wisely.
Whichever way you decide to write your list of skills, it should definitely include your IT competence – which apps and programs you can comfortably use, as well as the kind of work you’ve done on the computer before. Depending on how much work you’ve done on a computer, this could be written in its own section. This is because IT Work has become an integral part of the working life, and hiring managers want to know what you can use the computer.
Your work experience section should ideally be the longest on your CV — filling out most of the two pages. However, if you’re just starting your working life, don’t feel discouraged if you find that you don’t have a lot to write here — everyone has that problem at the start of their professional career!
This section, like the sections that follow it, should be in reverse chronological order, with your previous job first, then the job before that etc. You may wish to separate the most relevant job to the one you’re applying for from your other positions in its own section – a Relevant Work Experience Section. This should come before your other positions, as it should grab the attention of your hiring manager.
Again, you have two options on how to write this section. The first is to simply include your job title, the name of the company, and the time that you spent working there. For example:
June 2012 – September 2015
However, you may feel that this doesn’t give a complete picture of your day to day experience and responsibilities. As a result, you may find it useful to include a short summary with each entry. For example:
June 2012 – September 2015
I joined HMV Hanley in June 2012 as a retail manager. During this time, I was able to deliver first-class retail service, whilst also keeping team morale high during a difficult financial period for the store. Some of my duties and responsibilities include:
- Overseeing payroll
- Managing a team of people
- Keeping up to date with new releases
As you can see from my example, I’ve included a brief summary, including some accomplishments and a brief summary of some day to day responsibilities.
The next section in your CV should be a recount of your education history. This should include the courses you’ve attended as well as your grades. As with the previous sections, your education history should be recounted reverse chronologically.
University of Stoke
1990 – 1993
History and Politics
Burnsley High School
1984 – 1989
9 O Levels – including English, Maths, Science, Further Science and Geography.
You don’t need to go into great detail in this section. However, if you can include extra information — for example, whether you completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award in High School, or the topic of your dissertation — then you should definitely include that as it will give the hiring manager more information about you as a person.
If you can’t remember your exact grades, don’t worry. Depending on how long you’ve been in the workforce and the position you are applying for, recruiters aren’t specifically looking for particular qualifications.
As with your work experience and education history, your professional qualifications should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent first, followed by your second-most recent etc. Your professional qualifications should be included after your education history, as this will remind your hiring manager of your more recent achievements.
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