How to Write a Killer CV: the Ultimate Guide

Resume writing can be a tedious job. In addition to this, it is also very hard to guess what the recruiter appreciate and 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 land you that dream job. These mostly apply to people working in tech industry, but also the rest of candidates will benefit from such suggestions.

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 tipically include 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 your skills can improve their company. Add achievements from your previous jobs, if applicable.

2: Keep it to the point

Recruiters have tonnes of CVs to 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 relevant to the job, based on the job ad 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, only add the jobs where you used the skills required.

3: Education

Education, while relevant, doesn’t actually say much about your skills. There are also cases where someone who is mostly self-educated does better in a job than candidates graduated from prestigious universities. Rather than focusing 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.If you feel like proofreading is boring, use some of the following tools.

StateOfWriting and Via Writing – Everyone needs some help sometimes, some guidance when confused. These resume writing sites give great tips.
Ukwritings – As previously stated, if you find editing boring and tedious, use this tool to make this job easier.
AcademAdvisor – Grammar isn’t everyone’s forte so you should use some help and guidance from experts like on this site.
Boomessays – Formatting is another important element of resume writing. The resume will look better and be more readable – these tools can help you achieve that.
My Writing Way – Stay away from plagiarism by using a tool like this one. You don’t want the recruiters to think that you faked your resume.
Academized – Keywords are important, especially if your resume is online. Use this keyword generator, mentioned in this Academized review.

5: Experience

When listing your experience, try to stick to what is relevant to the job you are applying to. As stated previously, there is no need to mention, for instance, a job where you worked in Java when the job requires only 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 -“improved (insert result) by 32%” for example. This will help the recruiter visualise what you can do for them.

6: Listing skills

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a CV is using buzzwords. The recruiter doesn’t want to hear about another candidate being “hard-working” or “responsible” and especially not a “team player”. They have plenty of those. Instead, include relevant, real skills that you have. If you really 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. Don’t even think about using scales.


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 get your dream job.

Freddie Tubbs Guest Blogger The Shortlisted Magazine

© The Shortlisted – 2018

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