The Enigma Guide To Writing Your CV
Right. We’ve had enough of the very poor CV advice circulating the web; it seems primarily designed to make lazy recruiters lives easier and we can’t support that.
Here’s the Enigma People guide to writing a CV; over the years the team here will have read literally 1000’s of CV’s – here’s what works and a wee bit of what doesn’t for our sectors.
1. It would be nice if you included some contact details. Don’t laugh – roughly 20% of CV’s we receive don’t have phone numbers, or the number it does have is incorrect.
2. DON’T keep it to a maximum of two pages! This bit of advice really annoys me. DO keep it succinct but don’t cram things in, if you need more than two pages, go for it.
3. Keep the layout simple, clean and easy to follow. There is one exception to this – if you’re applying for a creative or graphic role, then you’ll need to demonstrate your creativity! Take a look at this ‘Message From A Graduate’ by Matthew Rennie…
4. Do write a profile – and tailor this to each role you apply for, highlighting why you believe you are suitable.
5. Use a confident tone and positive language.
6. Concentrate on your achievements, not your responsibilities. This means listing things you have done – such as products launched, sales increase, awards won – not rewriting your job description. Quote figures whenever possible – especially for roles that require you to meet targets or KPI’s.
7. Make your most relevant experience and skills prominent to encourage the employer to read on. “Technical” CV’s should always include a skills summary (we call it a tech spec – it quickly allows people to identify your primary skill set!)
8. Check thoroughly for correct spelling and grammar – spotting errors is a quick and easy way of weeding out weaker candidates when faced with a mountain of CVs to read. (Use the classic test of asking a friend to read over for mistakes, sometimes it just needs a fresh pair of eyes!)
9. Read (and re-read) the CV once you’ve finished – does it make sense? Does it describe what you do and how good you are at it?
- List all the one-day training courses you have ever been on
- Include a photo
- Use elaborate fonts and colours so your CV stands out.
- Divulge sensitive information
- Change your previous job titles to match the position you are applying for (some people do – seriously!)
- Use clichéd terms. We don’t want to know that at the end of the day you can hold the fort because there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
- Lie. It isn’t nice and we will find out.
We hope this helps!
If you have any additional tips, CV horror stories (or success ones!) or general comments let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org!