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How to build your CV: our 8 top tips

Searching for CV advice can be a bit of a minefield. To keep things simple, we've rounded up our eight top tips for building your CV. 

Keep it covered

Providing you cover the following, you’ll be well on your way:

● Personal and contact information

● Education and qualifications

● Work history/experience in reverse chronological order 

● Key skills relevant to the job in question

● Career highlights/achievements/key projects with results - best linked to ROI if you can

● Interests or hobbies

● References

Keep it simple

Use simple language that conveys your message clearly. There’s no need to use an over-complex vocabulary to talk yourself up – your achievements should do that for you. Use active and positive words like ‘created,’ ‘developed’ and ‘achieved,’ which also carry more impact when used at the start of a sentence. Convey your key skills in bullet points so that they are easy to read and stand out.

Keep it brief

Don’t use more words than necessary – the clue is in the fact that you need to get it all into a maximum of two pages. You probably don’t read all your mail, and neither do employers. In fact, you often have less than five seconds to grab the reader’s attention, so you need to make an immediate impact. 

The employer’s eye will naturally be drawn to the upper middle area of the first page, so that’s where your most important information needs to be.

Keep it honest

Don’t exaggerate your responsibilities or achievements. If the company’s serious about giving you the role, they will check things. Be honest about any big gaps in employment – in the interview, you can always explain how you used that period - whether it be redundancy, sabbatical or maternity leave.

Keep it tailored

There’s no such thing as a generic marketing CV, so create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don’t have to rewrite the whole thing – just work out how you can match each requirement on the job description and relate your skills/achievements to the role you’re applying for.

Keep it practical

Back everything up. You can no longer get away with making grand claims without providing examples. Wherever possible, supply facts and comparative data to illustrate your key achievements. e.g. ‘Grew web traffic from X to Y.’

Keep it interesting

The hobbies section isn’t just for mindlessly listing your favourite TV programmes. Use it to mention activities that highlight your creativity, such as blogging, or tie in with your professional life, such as a keen interest in digital. Mention any positions of responsibility, such as running a sports team on the weekend. Make sure you highlight your passions and interests.

Keep it updated

Review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills, experience or courses as you gain them. Unless having a really good memory is one of your key skills, trying to remember something you did five years ago may be a challenge. Treating your CV as an organic, ever-changing entity will save a lot of time when you come to look for new roles.

You can always speak to us about your CV, find out who specialises in your field here.


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