How to write a killer CV

Funny ugly man with a banana gun Banksy inspired

© The Shortlisted – 2019

Resume writing can be a tedious job and, in addition to this, it is also very hard to guess what the recruiter will appreciate or what they will consider irrelevant. If you have a long career history, there will also be the problem of putting everything on one page.

CV writing is all about selling yourself – and this isn’t necessarily as bad as it sounds.
You are trying to convince the recruiter that their company will benefit from your skills and expertise: just like a good copywriter, you are supposed to persuade.
However, most people make the mistake of simply listing their skills instead of outlining the inner benefits of hiring them.

Here are some tips on writing a resume or a CV that will help you land that dream job.
These mainly apply to people working in the tech industry, but the rest of the candidates will benefit from such suggestions as well.

7 Steps to write an incredibly good CV or resume

1: Write a summary

  • The summary is an extremely useful part of your CV as it allows you to summarise your best traits in a way that will allow the recruiter to get the first impression about you quickly.
  • A good summary typically includes no more than five sentences, so choose the information to put out there wisely. For instance, you could tell something about your education and areas of expertise like programming in Xilinx or Ruby Python, in a sentence or two.
  • However, use the summary to tell them how employers will benefit from your skills. Add achievements from your previous jobs too, if applicable.

2: Keep it to the point

  • Recruiters have tonnes of CVs to read and review, and yours is just another of them. Don’t make it more than one-page-long and don’t go on and on about your skills.
  • The trick here is to briefly explain why you would be the best candidate for the job. Highlight only the information that is specifically relevant to the job based on the job advert they posted.
  • If they require using Heroku and Hadoop but not Perl and Python, mention the latter, but only as a skill. Also, if you have a long job history, explain only where you have used the skills required.

3: Education

  • Education, while relevant, doesn’t say much about your skills; in fact, self-educated people may even do better in a job rather than candidates graduated from prestigious colleges. This obviously doesn’t apply to disciplines such as Medicine and Architecture, but when it comes to IT, this is a rather common scenario.
  • Instead of focussing on diplomas, talk about the achievements, awards or projects you worked on while in school. The same goes for self-educated people: highlight projects and achievements that are a result of your education.

4: Proofread

  • Grammar and spelling mistakes will not get you very far. Use tools like Grammarly and keep all of your content mistake-free.

5: Experience

  • When listing your experience, try to stick to what is relevant to the particular job you are applying to right now. As previously stated, there is no need to mention –  for instance – a role where you worked in Java when the job only requires Ruby or something else – especially if you have a long career history.
  • Also, when listing your experience, focus more on what you did for a particular company – such as “improved (insert result) by 32%” for example. This will help the employer figure out what you can do for them as well.

6: Listing skills

  • One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a CV is using career buzzwords.
    Nobody wants to hear about another candidate being “hard-working” or “responsible” – and especially not a “team player”.
  • Instead, include relevant, real skills that you have. If you want to use one of the mentioned terms, prove it by stating that you lead a team that improved something, or achieved something relevant to the job, or let your CV show that you didn’t have a break between jobs or projects.
  • And definitely, do not rate yourself on those skills.
  • Do not even think about using scales.

7: Takeaway

  • Writing a resume or a CV doesn’t come easy to everyone. Mistakes are easy to make and you always feel like just one wrong word could lead to you losing that chance.
  • Follow these tips if you want to perfect your CV writing skills and finally get your dream job.

About The Author

Freddie Tubbs
Resume writer

Freddie Tubbs is a resume writer and editor at Paper Fellows. He regularly takes part in online career conferences and webinars, and contributes articles to Oxessays and Ukservicesreviews blogs.