Tips 101: How to write a standout CV
Writing a CV can be a daunting task but it is a crucial step in any hiring process, which should not be overlooked.
This is your one chance to really ‘sell yourself’ to prospective employers.
The hiring manager does not know you, the CV should be regarded as an extension of yourself. It is an opportunity to create a first impression and you only get one opportunity to make a first impression!
What hiring managers will be thinking when reviewing your CV is 1. Does this person have the relevant experience/expertise i.e. can this person do the job advertised and 2. will this person make me money? If they see you as a potential fit for the role, at this point you will more than likely be called forward for interview- the interview is your chance to let your personality shine through- which is the third piece of the puzzle: i.e. do they like you as a person.
1. Keep it Short and Punchy
When writing a CV, size really does matter!
The golden rule is to keep it under two pages. You want to ensure that your CV is focused, concise and that you get all the highlights of your career across, without any unnecessary “fluff”.
The danger of lengthy rambling CV’s is that you run the risk of losing the hiring manager’s interest and attention. No one wants to have trudge through mounds of waffle. Make it as easy as possible for the reader.
• Use lively adjectives to draw the reader in.
• Use bullet points.
• Keep sentences to a one line minimum.
• Avoid rambling/’wordy’ sentences.
• Stick to the same tense- use present tense for current role, past tense for previous roles.
• “I am responsible for the analysis of the budget and for preparing monthly forecasts”.
• “Preparation of monthly forecast”,
• “Analysis of budget”.
2. Spelling and Grammar
Something as minor as a typo will automatically create a negative subconscious impression in the mind of the reader, which may ultimately cost you the job.
When glaring at a screen for hours, it can sometimes be hard to see the wood from the trees. Get your friends, family, gardener etc. to review your CV before you submit it anywhere. A second set of eyes can be of tremendous value here. Typos, spelling errors, grammatical errors are a huge no no.
Your CV should be broken down into 4 key sections:
This section should comprise a brief bio/summary of your yourself and your background, along with an outline of your future career ambition. It should be no longer than one paragraph.
This section should provide an outline of your previous employers and the dates during which you worked there, along with bullet points summarising your role and responsibilities.
In this section include details of your secondary school, undergraduate education, any post graduate certifications, masters degrees, professional qualifications ACA, ACCA, CFA etc.
• General rule: include your leaving cert points if they are above 400 points;
• Include results from your degree if you achieved a 2:1 or higher.
• Include qualification dates.
Outline any systems you have experience using, including Sage, SAP, Excel, modelling or anything else which is relevant to the role you are applying for. Also include any awards/ achievements which illustrate that you have tenacity, drive, ambition etc.
Hopefully the above tips will help you get the ball rolling and will be of assistance to you in putting together the first draft of your CV but if you would like to arrange a 1:1 CV preparation session with a member of our Accounting & Finance Team, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would be delighted to assist you in putting your best foot forward to aid you to secure your dream position. We look forward to hearing from you.
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