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Top tips to write a winning CV

Writing a winning CV can make all the difference between being put forward for an interview or not.

No matter how good you are for a position, you will never be able to make a case for yourself unless you get that all-important interview in the first place. As such, your CV is the most important document you can write when job hunting.

Of course, a CV ought to be clearly presented and highlight all of the relevant information that a potential employer might want to see, but that is often not enough to make it great. Remember that there must be something attention grabbing about your CV which makes it stand out from the crowd. What this should be will vary depending on the sort of job you are going for.

Tailoring your CV

In addition to getting attention, a winning CV will be tailored to suit the industry or employer in question. A really good CV is written in such a way that it appears to be custom-made for the application and there are various techniques that you can use to help you get this bespoke style.

Firstly, decide on a format for your CV that is suited to the job that you are applying for. For example, a performance CV is usually a good idea for anyone who is applying for a job where a proven track record is demanded. Rather than listing previous jobs in a chronological way, a performance CV takes a format where steps in career progression and key targets are listed.

Another example of common format is the targeted CV. Again, a targeted CV does not set out achievements in the order they were made but lists transferable skills in order of importance and demonstrates them from various points in a career history. This type of CV is a good one for people without direct industry experience and who are looking to target a new sector.

Another format to consider is the alternative or creative CV. In this, the CV might look more like a promotional brochure or sales copy with plenty of accompanying imagery. This sort of format suits people looking for work in a creative field, like marketing, PR, media or design.

Essential information

Once the format has been decided upon, it is important to remember that any winning CV still has to stick to certain rules:

Remember to include all of your personal details, such as your name, address, mobile number and email address. If relevant, also include your LinkedIn profile or blog site where employers can find out more about you.

In addition, you should also include details of qualifications – academic and on-the-job training – industry experience and work history.

For certain academic fields, writing in complete sentence is advisable, but in most cases detailing all of this information in easy-to-read bullet points makes more sense.

Think of a CV as a short report about a person, rather than a long essay. Ask yourself – would I read to the bottom to find out everything that I need to know?

Avoid some common pitfalls

To keep your CV as brief as possible, rewrite it after an initial draft, but try using as few words as possible.

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