How to write a good CV
A rewarding career is just a few steps away once you’ve found the perfect role for you. We asked those responsible for sifting through your CVs, our Human Resources function, for guidance on how to make sure yours stands out.
All DE&S vacancies are filled following a CV interview, therefore in order to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed in our recruitment process, it is important that you submit a good quality CV. This is the first chance to sell yourself to us and and show that you are suitable for the advertised role.
Many people possess a CV which is often generic but we strongly recommend that you tailor your CV to the job advert, making sure that it highlights your relevant and/or transferable skills.
An effective CV will convince us that you:
- Are competent, skilled and talented
- Have the ability to succeed
- Can demonstrate achievements and accomplishments
- Are motivated to deliver and committed to continuous improvement
- Have problem solving skills and are innovative
- Are a good team player
Once you have submitted your application, we will review your CV to see if your qualifications and experience are a good match for the advertised role.
It’s important to take note of the comments and suggestions we’ve made below to give yourself the best chance of being successful during our ‘sift process’.
The particular elements within the CV that we focus on during the sift process are:
This is your introduction to us. You should use this area to give a brief background of yourself. Good practice is to include your current role, at least one professional accomplishment and a summary of your main skills and qualities against the job description, in order to create a positive impression.
An achievement should be something that’s quantifiable. Employers love to read through key achievements, but they are specially interested on the impact and outcome for the organisation and yourself, so make sure to include this on the Key Achievement section of your CV.
Consider what have you accomplished: What situation you faced and what were the tasks? How did you approach it and what actions did you take? What was the result?
This is the opportunity to showcase your successes, how you exceeded targets or went above and beyond what is expected of you. What was challenging and significant? Between three and five examples are best practise.
List your job/professional experience (starting with your present job and working back in time), highlighting to which extent they demonstrate your suitability for the advertised role. Include:
- Job title, employer’s name and dates of employment
- Your main activities and responsibilities within that role (particularly if its relevant to the advertised role)
- The main skills you used, which should be linked and relevant to the job advert
Write small paragraphs for each role and briefly explain any career gaps.
Applied knowledge and skills
This is your opportunity to really promote the skills and knowledge you gained in one role or activity and applied in others you’ve held. If you have unique skills which will help you stand out from other candidates, please include them.
We would recommend to bullet point these skills so it looks clear accompanied with a brief explanation about how you acquired this skill and any recent tasks or events where you have used it.
Make sure to go through your job description to identify the specific qualities the employer is looking for so you can match these with yours. There needs to be enough information in this section to help us understand if your skills and experience are relevant and transferable to the advertised role.
List your professional memberships and academic qualifications in chronological order (most recent first), ensuring you have included those ones relevant to the advertised role.
In addition to the essential areas required, your CV should also include the following:
Do you have interests that carry responsibility in your personal life that highlights leadership, organisational and communications skills? Any activities or hobbies outside your scope of work? Perhaps you’re a volunteer, school governor, a scout or guide leader?
There are many activities you could list here but this is an opportunity to make a final positive impact on us. Always remember that they need to show skills that could be transferable to the role.
Top tips for writing a great CV
- Include your personal details/contact information
- Keep it simple and concise. A good CV should be no longer than 2-3 pages of A4 with clear headings, so that the information is well laid out
- Understand the advert and tailor your CV accordingly
- Ensure it is easy to pick out the key information using active language that is clear and direct
- Use assertive, positive language (action words) such as “developed’, “organised” or “achieved”
- Write details in chronological order
- Most importantly, proof read your CV. It should not contain spelling mistakes, punctuation and grammatical errors. First impressions count so the CV should look professional.
- Share your CV with your friends, colleagues and family, as their feedback will improve it.