CVs: How to make yours work for you

When it comes to job hunting, your CV is paramount. 
Get it right and you’ll have more interviews than you know what to do with. 
Get it wrong and you’ll end up looking into a desert of silence as no-one responds to your many job applications.
Whilst every CV is different, depending on your own experience and unique skills set, they all share a few commonalities when it comes to what should be included.

Profiles aren’t just for social media
A profile on a CV is your way of introducing yourself so make sure it makes the reader (aka your potential new employer) want to read more.

It should be 1 paragraph and act as a brief overview of your experience, responsibilities and professional strengths.  You should also mention your career goals and what you are looking for in your next job.

Education, Education, Education
Whether we here at Sam Ferris agree or not (just to clarify, we don’t), employers are interested in your A-Level results as well as your undergraduate degree and its classification, your Master’s degree (if relevant) as well as any other relevant qualifications you hold (MRICS, MRTPI etc).

Top of the Jobs
This is the big one – the employment section.  This is where you get to expand on the experience you overviewed in your profile and show how good you are at your job.

For each and every relevant position you’ve held, you should include the following basic points:

  • Dates – how long were you in the positions?  If you can, be specific on which month you started and ended your posting.  Just listing the year makes it open to misinterpretation e.g. if you list that you held a post from 2017-2018, this could either have been there for two years (January 2017 – December 2018), two months (December 2017 – January 2018) or anything in between!
  • Responsibilities – You should provide a paragraph or two to form an overview of the role and your responsibilities within it.  Regardless of you your professional discipline, you should Include information on projects you have worked on.  Make sure you answer the following questions:
              o   What was the project?

              o   Who was the client?

              o   Where was the project?

              o   What was your specific input into the project?

              o   Was this your project or were you working on it as part of a team?

Not only does this help to demonstrate your achievements in the role as you can outline your project successes, it also allows you to detail any revenue generation that can be directly attributed to you.

Happily Ever After, The End
At the end of your CV, include some information on hobbies/activities that you are interested.  Employers want to gain a little insight on who are you as an individual as well as a professional.  That said, you don’t need to go into too much detail (e.g. you may be a keen golfer, but you don’t need to list your handicap or favourite courses).

To Spell Check Or Not To Spell Check?
This shouldn’t be a question but, in case it is, the answer is always spell check and proofread manually.  Whilst Word is great at doing it for you, it will only pick up on words which are spelt wrong.

For example, Word’s spell check will not pick up on the typo in this sentence –

“I am proficient in using all Widow’s programmes”.

It also won’t pick up the missing “I” and “the” in this sentence –

“Whilst in post, worked on company’s Hertfordshire expansion”

If you know that this is an area where you struggle, get someone else to read over it.  Alongside spelling and/or grammar error, they may also be offer advice on your phrasing or how it reads to someone else.

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