CV Writing

Writing a CV is a skill and its importance cannot be understated. More often than not your CV will be the one thing that either opens the door to an interview or closes it firmly shut. A hiring manager will decide whether to see you based on the content and layout of what they receive. They could potentially have 20 CVs’ to shortlist from so how do you make sure that you go through to that vital face to face interview where you can do your thing?

Firstly, it’s key to remember that the purpose of your CV is to get an interview. It needs to show that you have the necessary skills and experience to do the job but not give chapter and verse as to what you did from leaving school to present day. You can hold some information back to talk through in the interview.

There are differing views on how long a CV should be but having gone through many thousands over the years our thoughts sit at around two or three pages dependant on your time in work. Try and avoid filling a page per job or copying and pasting old job descriptions on to your CV as it doesn’t make for particularly interesting reading. The latter can also appear to an employer as not caring enough to take time to do it properly.

Have a profile at the top of your cv and tailor it to the job that you are applying for, i.e., if you have been a surveyor and site manager over the years and are applying for a surveying role don’t highlight your experience as a site manager. It may be that the hiring manager doesn’t read past the profile if they do not think it is relevant to the post they are trying to find someone for.

Choose a format and stick to it throughout the document. When we put candidates forward to roles we will format the CVs in the Braxfield style so they are branded and look the same for ease of viewing. We clearly lay out the dates of employment, job title and company followed by key achievements and skills bullet pointed for each role as it allows you to highlight your background without the need to write lengthy sentences adding extra pages.

Have a think about the role you are adding and consider the following to decide what to include:

  • What was the key purpose of the role?
  • What were your main achievements whilst there?
  • Did you manage anyone, if so what did you help them to achieve?
  • Were you responsible for certain budgets?
  • Did you change or deliver something, if so, what was the outcome?
  • Did you sit on any committees or work with other departments to support the business?

As you work longer there is often a tendency to just add the next job to the top of your CV without reviewing what has gone before it. Check through the older roles and look at what text you really need to keep. It's fine to leave the job titles and dates on the CV but removing the 'What you did' bit if it doesn't relate to what you do now. It's much better to include more information about what you have done in recent years and cut some of the content from 10+ years prior. 

Our last tip would be to check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Use the functions in your word processing package and if spelling and grammar is not your forte ask a friend or family member have a read through before you submit the CV or put in on-line.

We hope the information here helps and if you are not already a part of the Braxfield community then please do get in touch.


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