How to write a CV

Writing Your CV

The main purpose of a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is to get you an interview. So it has to contain the right information to make you stand out to a recruiter or an employer, set out in a way that makes them want to offer you an interview.

Your CV is a marketing tool that outlines who you are and why an employer needs to employ you. It is also used as a screening device for employers and recruitment consultants. The quality, accuracy and relevance of your document will determine whether you are selected, or whether your CV ends up on the reject pile.

The perfect CV can take time to produce and refine to a state that you are happy with it. You shouldn’t rush the process, and there are a number of stages you should go through:

Produce an initial draft CV

If you do not already have a CV then set about producing one. You can find lots of templates online but remember the following golden rules:

  • Your CV should be easy to follow and logically laid out
  • Make sure all dates are accurate for education and for each position that you’ve held
  • Avoid squeezing too much information onto one page
  • Two pages is the perfect length for a CV, only use three if absolutely necessary
  • Check through and correct any punctuation and grammar mistakes

When reading it back to yourself, check that:

  • It is short, sharp and snappy, so that it gains and keeps the recruiter’s attention
  • You have identified your best and most relevant skills
  • It clearly and persuasively articulates your strengths to prospective employers and recruiters.

Assess your ideal role

This step allows you to challenge your own idea of your skills and allows you to take the time to do a focused self-assessment. Recruiters often have a set criteria of keywords which relate to both the role and the ideal candidate. Searching through relevant roles will help you to identify potential keywords.

This will allow you to:

  • Ensure that you have the relevant experience
  • Check that you have included the keywords in your CV
  • Identify and address any gaps in your experience

If you have the relevant experience, then be sure to to include the keywords that you identify in your CV. They will probably be common to that type of job role, and without them you are unlikely to be selected for interview.

If you don’t have the experience needed to include them, now is the opportunity to address that. You should see this as a positive step toward getting that dream job.

Get someone to review your CV

It is a good idea to ask someone you trust to check through your CV for errors. Errors in a CV show a lack of attention to detail, which will often count against you.

They can also let you know if your CV is easy to read. If your CV contains great information, but looks crowded and difficult to follow, a recruiter may just dismiss your CV without giving it the attention you deserve.

Next Steps

Once you are happy with your CV it is time to put it to work. Your next steps should include:

  • Sign up for specialist jobs boards like PsychMinded
  • Complete a professional profile on sites such as PsychMinded and LinkedIn
  • Start searching for and applying for jobs
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