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Finegreen blog - CV Writing: Do’s and Don’t's!

Blog post   •   Feb 27, 2015 14:30 GMT

CV Writing – Do’s and Don’t's!

Our Lead Resourcer, Rebecca Taylor, kindly contributes to our blog this week, giving her tips on some of the most important do’s and don’ts when building, developing or editing your CV. Rebecca has worked in recruitment for over 15 years and in that time she has helped create and edit thousands of CVs from a diverse range of candidates from graduate up to board level.

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As you’ve no doubt encountered at some point in your professional life, creating the perfect CV is neither a quick or easy task. In fact, for many executive candidates, some haven’t needed to revisit these details for a number of years. Whilst some elements may appear obvious, from my experience there can be times where important information is either missed out, too detailed or too concise.

To help with the CV process, i often advise candidates on those crucial key ingredients that can really help devise the CV that best conveys your strengths and key skills. Below I have set out some of the most important do’s and don’ts we use at Finegreen as a guideline when working on your CV. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it should help put you in the right path when creating or editing your next CV.

Rebecca’s Top CV Tips - Do’s

Do… show a clear job target

A generic CV that tries to cover too many bases will probably fall flat. If you don’t write to a specific target audience, your CV will not speak to the recruiters or help them connect you to the job they’re trying to fill. Everything in your CV should fall in line with what they’ll be looking for.

Do… keep Adding Value

The value you will bring to your next employer needs to be abundantly evident and linked to your personal achievements.Show the set targets and be sure to explainhow you accomplished them.

Do… show your career success and achievements

When you explain how you make things happen – how you were able to capture profitable results – you help your target audience zero in on what you’ll do for their organisation. They can begin to picture you doing the same things for them.

Rebecca’s Top CV Tips - Dont’s

Don’t … write a lack-lustre “Objective” statement

From experience I would not state that you are looking for a “growth position that will utilise my expertise in XYZ”. Potential employers want to know what you’ll do for them. So instead of leading your CV with a statement saying what you would like to gain from the position, start with a professional headline spotlighting the relevant key words and phrases highlighted in the job description. Then follow with your executive brand statement, showcasing your unique promise of value to them.

Don’t… include densely packed, hard-to-read information

When a potential employer opens a document or web page, it’s more likely to capture and hold their attention with concise, value-driven statements surrounded by plenty of white space. Shorter chunks of information are easier to read and will draw the reader to continue down the page. Pay close attention to what lands above the fold on the page, busy decision makers generally allow only 30 seconds or so for a CV to draw them in.

Don’t... add too many pages

Keep it as close to 2 pages as you can. Remember that an executive CV is a career marketing document, not a career history. It needs to incorporatejust enoughcompelling information to generate interest in you.

Don't... rely on spellcheck

This probably goes without saying and you’ll be surprised how many CVs I see with punctuation and spelling errors!

Spelling and errors in grammar are frowned upon at a senior level and may also convey misinformation. Proofread several times and have someone else do it, too. Don’t rely on spellcheck. Keep the formatting attractive, consistent, and easy to read. Don’t use more than 2 different fonts (one for headings, another for content), and don’t choose elaborate and unprofessional fonts. And most importantly, make sure your contact information is correct.

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Here at Finegreen,  we also provide candidates with a CV template which can be viewed and downloaded here. Our specialist consultants are happy to help give you guidance if needed so don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure of anything.

Next week, our marketing manager Ben Fineberg gives some social media tips on how to best utilize your presence online.

Have a great weekend!