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How to write a CV

We often get asked for advice outlining how to write a CV. The best place to start is by going back to basics. You might think your CV is up to date and pretty good, but is it really the best it can be?

CV writing tips

Start your flexible job search by revisiting your curriculum vitae. Here are a few things to bear in mind when writing your CV…

Writing your CV

Your CV will need updating if you’re thinking about a new flexible role for the future. This may be as simple as filling in the latest position and adjusting dates. Or it could be a matter of starting all over again with a fresh new CV template to create an eye-catching, more modern design.

Think: what’s it for?

Your CV has one purpose: to get you an interview. Keep this in mind when reviewing or rewriting yours. This is your calling card and your chance to get ahead of the competition.

Your opening statement

A good CV will have an opening statement outlining who you are, a snapshot of your experience and what it is you want. When recruiters scan CVs, this is often the single most important piece of information they will read. Keep it to a couple of sentences and make it punchy and direct.

Use relevant words

Focus on using relevant wording for the position you will be applying for. Ideally, you’ll have a job advert in front of you and be able to use terminology from this to ‘pepper’ your CV with the same words.

For example, if a role is seeking someone with management experience, make sure you mirror this in your CV with a relevant description of your management ability.

Stick to two pages

You may have many years of experience, but really the last two positions will be the ones recruiters focus on first. There is simply no point in outlining everything you’ve ever done over several pages.

Brevity is key, waffle is out and jargon is definitely a no-no. Think about your reader – who is your audience and how can you appeal to them?

Never leave CV gaps

If you’ve had a gap in your career, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. What is important is that you cover this when writing your CV. You don’t want any blanks in the reader’s mind as to why you’ve had a career break. You could say, ‘Career break to raise children’ or ‘Career break to carry out caring responsibilities’.

You need to be ready to demonstrate how ambitious you are – the place to do this is in the covering letter or email and certainly at interview. If you can show this, career gaps will become less important and employers will be able to see your potential as an asset to their company.

No spelling mistakes

This sounds obvious but if you submit a bad CV with typos or errors, it will be frowned upon and you could even land at the bottom of the recruitment pile. Take time to edit your CV and ask a friend or colleague to check it over for you to be sure.

Don’t rely on spell check necessarily. Get the dictionary out as the internet can come up with different spelling versions of words. Be certain and you’ll come across as reliable and self-assured. Remember, attention spans are increasingly limited these days, so if you follow these basic rules of how to write a CV, you’ll still be ahead of the pack.

A good CV leads to interview

You’d be amazed that not everyone knows how to write a CV or takes this care and attention over it. Make yours shine and your effort will be sure to pay off!

If your next step is to find new and rewarding positions with a flexible employer, please register with our recruitment agency. We’ll then be able to match your skills with relevant positions and invite you to our FREE events including CV writing and interview workshops.

We look forward to hearing from you. Good luck with the job search!

4 min read