THE GUIDE

PART ONE:

With an employment world filled with huge recruitment sites and now dominated by recruitment agencies in many sectors, CVs are still very much part of the recruitment scene for most types of career.

 I have taken a long look at the sort of guidance and information available to help write a CV and decided to come up with something that’s highly practical, succinct, but with sufficient simple theory behind it – so that with it you can read it and then write a CV in a confident and informed manner, with it by your side.

 CV Create will guide you STEP BY STEP as you write, but with a new confidence based on the basic rules of CV writing I will put in your head!

 CVs are still a very popular recruitment tool, although some companies prefer an application form, but the CV is still just that – an application form containing the same information and subject to the same processes. The difference is that with a CV YOU are in control of the process and not being manipulated into providing information in a set format to a certain extent.

 You might be applying for specific advertised posts, speculatively sending out copies of your CV to recruitment agencies and potential employers – or even internal applications in a company – this guide can help get it right for these different occasions, and they are different.

If you are writing a CV to be stored on many of the online recruitment sites, your CV still needs to have impact and meet information requirements – even when you fill in a CV section by section online, this guide can still help you with creating the interest you want and making assessment of your own skills easy.

The eBook CV Create will help anyone looking for a simple and concise, no nonsense, step by step guide.

 2.Your CV and its Life!

 So once I write and post my CV, what happens to it?

 So; you spend hours writing it and get so involved in it that eventually you begin to lose sight (and objectivity) of why you have written it and what you need to put in it, the spell checker picks up spelling mistakes and the grammar check makes you write grammatically precise and overly wrong sentences and you are still not sure it says what you want – then, with some urgency, you send it off.

 By the time you have finished it, and got it in the post, there are hundreds of other CVs already on the recruiter’s desk and in the shortlist email box. In some cases there is a cut off once a certain number CVs arrive – the recruiter hasn’t time and knows she can fish out a few great candidates from the pile she has already – so you don’t make the cut even though you meet the specifications of the job and off you go to the shredder – it’s unlikely anyone will keep you on file. What’s worse you don’t even get any feedback because your prefect CV never gets read. So you need to act fast!

 If by some chance you do slip in before the ‘cut off’ number or date, it’s most likely you will go into a sifting for a shortlist reading. In some companies and agencies it’s not a decision maker or direct management individual who does the sifting –it’s a lower level individual with very little time, who will pick out the CVs that obviously meet the person specification and generally look presentable.

 So off goes your successfully sifted CV to a ‘shortlister’ – who does the same, but with a more experienced and technically focussed eye perhaps – and probably a bit more time, and often applying their own unpublished person specification and agenda to it.

 If you make the cut here, you are through the door – and into the interview room and your CV will accompany you there, and confront you, upside down on the interviewer’s desk – so remember what you put in it!

 The story is often the same of those CVs who sit in electronic systems and databases online waiting to be pulled – except it’s keywords and categories that matter here, waiting for the recruiters searches. If you do have such ‘estranged’ CVs, then try to visit them regularly, update them and make sure your aims with the CV remain the same – and make sure they are well written in the first place.

 And don’t believe one CV, exactly the same, will do for all jobs – have two or three – at least a different type of CV, for each job type – a CV that will catch the eye of a recruiter looking for potential candidates for that job –

 ALWAYS REVIEW the PERSON SPECIFICATION and how your CV MEETS and MATCHES IT


  

3 - Some TOp Tips …

 With an employment world filled with huge recruitment sites and now dominated by recruitment agencies in many sectors, CV are still very much part of the recruitment scene for most types of career.

 I have taken a long look at the sort of guidance and information available to help write a CV and decided to come up with something that’s highly practical, succinct, but with sufficient simple theory behind it – so that with it you can read it and then write a CV in a confident and informed manner, with it by your side.

 CV Create will guide you STEP BY STEP as you write, but with a new confidence based on the basic rules of CV writing I will put in your head!

 CVs are still a very popular recruitment tool, although some companies prefer an application form, but the CV is still just that – an application form containing the same information and subject to the same processes. The difference is that with a CV YOU are in control of the process and not being manipulated into providing information in a set format to a certain extent.

 You might be applying for specific advertised posts, speculatively sending out copies of your CV to recruitment agencies and potential employers – or even internal applications in a company – this guide can help get it right for these different occasions, and they are different.

If you are writing a CV to be stored on many of the online recruitment sites, your CV still needs to have impact and meet information requirements – even when you fill in a CV section by section online, this guide can still help you with creating the interest you want and making assessment of your own skills easy.

The eBook CV Create will help anyone looking for a simple and concise, no nonsense, step by step guide.

  

4. Hints & Tips – Language and Layout

 

  • ALWAYS try and match the person specification, consider your CV as an application form – because it is! Write your CV with the person specification in mind, or in the absence of one, use the actual job advert along with some research of similar job profiles for the skills and abilities needed.

  • Don't use the same CV time and time again for different jobs – it won’t work.

 

  • If there is no CV/covering letter-person specification match it will probably fail to get you to the next step.

 

  • Use short and concise sentences and avoid over complicated language and punctuation.

 

  • Construct sentences that are easy to read, which is important because short listing staff have little time and are often not the decision makers.

 

  • Format your CV with simple fonts such as Arial. Use standard font sizes up to 14 except for headings. Make you name big enough to be very easily read, but not so big it makes you look like a self absorbed lunatic.

 

  • For MOST purposes two pages are sufficient, and put them on one sheet of paper, back to back – this avoids the possibly of losing one of the sheets – it does happen too often!.

 

  • 5 Hints & Tips – Content and Format

 

Concise Language and Layout make for good, quick accessibility of your information.

 

  • Include contact details such phone number, email and address, postal address. There is NO reason to include age, marital status or sexual orientation!

 

  • Ensure employment history, including title and dates, can be easily read and each laid out in the same style. Order them with the most recent first. DON'T cover your CV with bullet pointed lists. Some are OK, but over-use of bullet points isn't recommended.

 

  • If you have a long work history use the last 5-6 years, and then summarise other significant and relevant work history, perhaps as a list, depending on space available.

 

  • Include your personal and past achievements in a separate sector - remember, voluntary work and other experience outside work is often relevant to the job you applying to.

 

  • If any particular qualifications are mentioned in the person specification, make sure they are duplicated as written in the person specification - the CV might be scanned electronically for them, your spelling might not match.

 

  • Ensure you have appropriate referees ready for different applications. Either attach references (space permitting) or state that they're available. The latter is always my choice.

 

ALWAYS ask your referees that you can use them if you are providing their details on the CV, as recruiters may contact them without asking you in advance, something you don’t want if you didn’t approach them for permission – most will, but be courteous..

 

And Finally….Use spell checking tools when creating, but don't rely on them for your final draft – FIND SOME HUMAN EYES. This also works on getting an opinion on the impression your CV gives from someone else. Grammar checks can be turned off, as long as it’s clear it need NOT to conform to stringent grammatical rules.

6. Before you begin – Skills Evaluation

 Something I have slipped into this CV is a collection of skills under the heading  #SKILL PROFILE

 This is exactly what it is, it’s a collection of skills you possess – your skill and knowledge set.

 It isn’t actually that easy to come up with such a list off the top of your head, and you have to bear in mind that you should be able to substantiate and even quantify the elements in relation to how long, where and when, if asked.

 Compiling your SKILL PROFILE is actually a very good exercise to assess what skills and experiences you have, you’ll surprise yourself!! So do this. You’ll suddenly focus and it will become clear where your major skills and experience/knowledge lie – even if you don’t use it in your CV.

 SO HOW DO I DO IT?

You could do the proverbial ‘brain storm’ or a little mind mapping. Alternatively you could go and take a look at the SKILLS SECTION on the Résumé Writing Dictionary, you’ll soon have a great list of skills you never even knew you had which you can use in the CV. http://www.resumedictionary.com/resume-skills-hecklist/

 

WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?

This is the Skills Profile I included in my own CV - Counselling, Career Counseling, Educational Advice, Benefits and Welfare knowledge, Resume Writing, Coaching, Mentoring, Event Management, Public Speaking, Workshop Delivery, Writing, Microsoft Office, Staff Development, Personal Development, Interviewing, Administration. Social Media, Performance Management, Policy, Problem Solving, Fundraising, Planning, Event Planning, Supervision and Management Skills.

 Usually people find it easy to come up with a few key skills, and then find they actually have a lot more to offer. It’s a very worthwhile exercise before writing your CV – I recommend it!.

Part Two  - So lets begin to Write!

1. LAYOUTS?

 There are a thousand and one CV writers and Advisers who will suggest many, many different types of CV which, for me, just muddies the water when attempting to provide guidance is writing a CV. In my opinion, you can do a lot with the one I am suggesting here!

 There is No real format that can be raised above others – as long as you CV meets the important criteria of Accessibility and Clarity discussed previously, it will work. To discuss the plethora of CV Formats found in other CV writing guides is not always helpful to achieving an effective CV; and not much use if you have to write quickly!

 The CV layout below is a generic and flexible one, with a few aspects I have added, which will generally function and perform well in most individuals circumstances. Once compiled, the sections can be moved around to fit particular needs, but for the general job seeker and career changer, it’s not so much the format as the content which is important.

 ESSENTIAL SECTIONS ON YOUR CV

 These sections are the very basic information sections, each with specific requirements and ways which they can be made most effective, clear and accessible. I have put them in a general order which provides essential information fast.

 I will provide a step by step guide to each section. Most CV formats will have these sections in one form or another, organised for maximum affect for the type of application – if you are responding to job adverts or applying speculatively, this format is most effective and widely used, familiar to the reader, and makes most sense in terms of easy, quick access to information by the reader.

 SUGGESTED LAYOUT GUIDE

  

NAME, ADDRESS, CONTACT DETAILS

  #OVERVIEW/SUMMARY/CAREER GOALS

  #GENERIC WORK EXPERIENCE SUMMARY*

  #SKILLS PROFILE

  #EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

  #EDUCATION

 #PERSONAL INFORMATION

 #HOBBIES & INTERESTS 

#REFEREES

 

2. NAME, ADDRESS, CONTACT DETAILS

 General Stuff:

 As I have suggested before, use a decent quality of white or cream paper, a simple common font like Arial – a size of 10-12 for body text, perhaps 14 for headings, all which you can change if you are trying to shrink your CV to 2 pages. Incidentally 2 pages, was once a Résumé standard, back to back, is generally seen as preferable for CVs in general terms nowadays – but it’s by no means fixed. Bear in mind that ‘more IS more’ when it comes to CVs and ‘more than necessary’ isn’t welcome on an recruiters desk when there are hundreds of other CVs to read.

 Name and contact details

A very simple section that you can get wrong you might think?

 In my experiences as a recruiter, it quite definitely is something that you can get wrong. It’s the first thing that’s seen, it’s a first impression – of the writer of the CV - YOU.

 First comes your name – Put your full name here, no initials, miss out your middle name if it’s perhaps a little peculiar or very uncommon.

 Centre your name and make it a few of sizes bigger than the standard text you are going use, I suggest Arial 16, but experiment. Don’t make it it insanely huge – just make it the first thing that comes into focus!

 Avoid Photographs, unless you’re a model or entertainer – people can be so fickle with a photo and shred you because they don’t like your looks.

 Keep it simple - boxes are fine, but keep them simple and purposeful, if you must use them – and don’t use for some decorative affect.

 Address and postcode, include these on next line

 Email and phones – one each of mobile and landline. No more is needed unless requested.

 No more is required, no need for marital status, sex or age here – or indeed any personal information – there is a section for that later, and it still not a requirement other than certain excluded occupations when the sex of an applicant might be important.

 3. OVERVIEW/SUMMARY/CAREER GOALS

 This the hard bit, people always have trouble with this part. Like the proverbial eating of an elephant and should be approached that way – in bite sized chunks. But it’s actually easy when you consider what I have said all along here – it’s about meeting a person specification, and it’s about being clear and concise.

 Paragraph length should be relatively short, a snappy advert for YOU and your skills and experience, with and an eye always on the person specification. It might also be more of a collection of sentences than a strict paragraph. I stick my neck out always and tell people that grammar isn’t important in a CV, but clarity is.

 What do I call it?  This section gets titled in different ways for different purposes. If the CV is pointed at a particular job either in response to adverts or speculatively then call it a SUMMARY, as it’s a summary of your personality, your skills and experience. If it’s a career starting CV, then display your objectives here, along side your skills and experience, personal attributes and qualities. Whats its called isn’t that important – it’s what is in it that is.

 First Person or Third Tense? The jury is out for me on this, I prefer the third tense when reading and writing, although using a narrative first person ‘I’ comes easier to many – and both are good if the style is kept consistent in the CV.

 Content – What do I put in? Well, what does the sifter or recruiter want to see? They want to see the person specification there (or parts of it summarised), or a refection of the job advert

 Pull out the person spec/job description ‘Essentials and Desirables’ and make a list. Does it require a particular skill or qualification, a level of experience in some aspect? Now relate these yours? Write a few sentences to summarise you in this light.

 Then perhaps add a few personal attributes (e.g. hard working, flexible, driven and adaptable) related to the post or its environs, and perhaps add an objective – which relates to the company and their goals (you did research the company right?)

 So THREE bites than make the whole thing more digestible:

 Jobs essentials from person specification that you have – quantities info is great (“20 years as a gamekeeper ”)

 Personal Attributes – flexible, adaptable, friendly, hardworking,

 A single line summary of your vocational objective related to the company and job – an option but good!

 The previous information should get you moving in the right direction, and have you create something that’ will have IMPACT – and impact means relating to the person specification, the information and match the recruiter is looking for, in a format that’s easily accessed.

 Here’s an example from my own CV as it’s probably useful to present what I preach, just to show you how it might pan out and the length and style in a real situation. This was used and got me on shortlists always, when a CV was the means of application and no other factors, I did not know about, did not come into play.

 “Highly qualified and widely experienced Level 7 Employability and Careers Guidance professional with successful track record. Has worked with adults and young people in a very broad range differing contexts and clients and customers. Very approachable, adaptable and flexible, an innovative and intuitive people person with a proven track record of developing ideas and delivering to targets in challenging settings. A professional communicator with the ability to build positive relationships with high level of empathy with all levels of people. Creative and analytical, able to work effectively in team and individual contexts. “  

 Use of Words – choose what comes natural to you, after all your CV is about YOU. There is a school of thought that suggests usage of ‘power verbs’. I think it’s overused – if you look at mine I don’t use many – it’s not my style or me and the suggestion that CVs are scanned for ‘positive power verbs’ isn’t that widespread – add a healthy sprinkle if you wish!

 More can be found here:-http://www.jobskills.info/resume_edge/power_verb.htm

 As for personal attributes that are vocational valued – look here, or ask how your friends would describe you – more here:-

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/skills-and-personal-qualities-that-employers-want.html

 4. MAIN SKILLS & EXPERIENCE

This section is a good place to bullet point your PRIMARY SKILLS and EXERIENCE, to emphasise what you do on a daily basis – to a certain extent reinforcing and expanding the ‘snap shot’ or Summary you have written previously. It’s not a repeat of your Summary; it’s a natural expansion – giving the reader a fuller picture of what you are all about – and again priming the match to the person specification.

This is why I asked you to do a skill evaluation earlier, you should now EASILY access your main skills and experience areas and bullet point them – choose them carefully and don’t overdo the list.

Here is an example of how this looked on my CV.

 Main Skills and Experience

  • One to one advice and guidance at all levels of ability.
  • Group and workshop delivery from small groups to 300 plus.
  • Work with all age groups and educational levels.
  • Work in Higher Education, Further Education, schools, prisons, YOIs, community based projects. welfare to work, job centres.Works as welfare, benefits and educational adviser.
  • Management and supervisory experience, staff development.
  • Planning, management and administration skills in management roles and in self employment.
  • Fully I.T. competent with knowledge of web based delivery systems.

So what we are looking for is a bulletpoint list of your main skills areas, stacked to match the skills and experience as outlined in the, yes you’ve got it, the person specification, or as outlined requirements in an advert.

 This section will CONNECT your Summary to the Actual Employment History coming up, pulling the reader through the CV in a positive manner, each section reinforcing how you MATCH the PERSON SPECIFICATION.

 5. SKILLS PROFILE –  I asked you to do this before your wrote your CV earlier in the guide- you can use this section, but don’t make it too long – and even leave it out if you need space to get your CV onto two pages. It’s a blow by blow outline of ALL your skills and bolsters the last section – in some contexts it might be too much – but it can work in well if the CV is likely to be scanned for key words.

 To RECAP on how to so it – Read on> Here’s what I include on my CV

 Skills Profile

Counselling, Career Counseling, Educational Advice, Benefits and Welfare knowledge, Résumé and CV Writing, Coaching, Mentoring, Event Management, Public Speaking, Workshop Delivery, Writing, Microsoft Office, Staff Development, Personal Development, Interviewing, Administration. Social Media, Performance Management, Policy, Problem Solving, Fundraising, Planning, Event Planning, Supervision and Management Skills.

 It is isn’t actually that easy to come up with such a list off the top of your head,  and you have to bear in mind that you should be able to substantiate and even quantify the elements in relation to how long, where and when.

 Compiling your SKILL SET or PROFILE is actually a very good exercise to assess what skill and experiences you have, you’ll surprise yourself!! So do this. You’ll suddenly focus and its will become clear where you major skills and experience/knowledge lie.

 SO HOW DO I DO IT?

You could do the proverbial ‘brain storm’ or a little mind mapping. Alternatively you could go and take a look at the SKILLS SECTION on the Résumé writing dictionary, you’ll soon have a great list of skills you never even knew you had which you can use in the CV,

 http://www.resumedictionary.com/resume-skills-checklist/

 Once you have done it, then slip it into the CV here. It’s not something you will find on many CVs and you could treat it as an option – but put it in and see how it works.

6. EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

 First let’s talk about a FORMAT these sections, because it will be a procession of jobs where you have used the skills and experience you have previously suggested you have – it’s the EVIDENCE SECTION!

 Find a simple layout for each job you feel happy with. You will need to include EMPLOYER, JOB TITLE, DATES and an overview of what you have done in that role. Here’s an example where I worked on a short term project:-

 CAREER ADVISER - Foston Hall Prison - Lincoln College
March 2011 – October 2011 (8 months) Derby
Working part time (21hours) at Foston Hall HMP Womens Prison as a Careers  Information Advice Service adviser on a fixed term contract. Providing one to one guidance, group work and introductory talks, assessing for prison education, providing help on applying for Higher Education and other courses to inmates. Administration and report writing. Liaison with Education Department and other prison departments and staff.

 Here be very specific and describe what you did, but as succinctly as possible. The CV reader already knows you have the skills and experience from previous sections, now they want to see you prove it – you are nearly there, nearly shortlisted.

 You can bullet point here if you have space, but less bullets points is always good if you can. Writing in a narrative, first person style can also work, if you have that skill.

 HOW MUCH EMPLOYMENT HISTORY DO I PUT IN?

My rule is to put 5 years, and then summarise other relevant experience beyond this as a list, if it’s relevant. Most employers won’t be interested in what you did beyond this, unless you were doing this job 20 years ago …. ….

 

7. EDUCATION & TRAINING

Once again we are looking to match the person specification, and perhaps a little bit more. SO include qualifications and courses listed as ESSENTIAL and DESIRABLE.

 Format as the Employment Section, keep it easy to read, include qualification names as laid out in the person spec., in case it’s scanned. If it ask for English and Maths etc, include them also and specifically in terms of where an when – for all other secondary qualifications, you can list in a general way.

 IF you have done a plethora of company or specialist training, do include it especially if it’s a requirement for the post – it displays your willingness to train and improve yourself.

8. PERSONAL INFORMATION

 Any other information you feel is relevant and not covered elsewhere, is welcome here, but there are no essentials. Most –people will include experiences and qualifications in a general sense, such as car or equipment licenses etc.

 Age, marital status could be put here, if you must, but not mandatory.

9.HOBBIES & INTERESTS

Reading and walking the dog, those old chestnuts? Just a section to mull over for 30 seconds and not really important? Not relevant really? THINK AGAIN!!

 Many recruiters, or at least those who are going to line manage you, want to know more about the NON VOCATIONAL you, the person behind the person specification you have so clearly met at this point!!

 So throw it all in, show how you are a little different or how you stand out or how you are human even. When a recruiter has 20 people as potential candidates and only 6 interview slots, one of the ways to split them is by reading sections of hobbies and interests. (One way, but not all)

 Having said that – be wary on including odd or anti-social activities, or anything which might present a personality which won’t fit the company culture or ethos, or is seen as anti-social etc – you did research the company didn’t you?!

 So here again is how the ‘none vocational’ me, carefully selected may I say, and with some stuff strategically excluded filled my Hobbies and Interests spot!

 Personal projects have included the setting up and running of the local Civic Society as Secretary, also Uttoxeter Archaeology

 Society which provided after school club in primary schools for 5 years. Founder of Local Community Action Group. Described as a community leader and social activist. Sole Organiser of the Uttoxeter May Festival for 9 years. I am a keen writer of prose and poetry, and have work in the latter category published on a regular basis, part time actor and film extra. I am a trained hypnotist and have experience of psycho-dynamic counselling and NLP.”

 Get the idea? This guy is certainly qualified and what’s more – possibly interesting …..to some!

10. And finally REFERENCES

 My preference is to use “AVAILABLE ON REQUEST” It’s simple and generally accepted, and saves a lot of space.

 As said before, get permission of the referee before you include them – if  a recruiter rings your referee and you haven’t asked permission and just taken the liberty, they might say no and the recruiter will be in possession of a bit of your character traits they don’t like! Otherwise don’t take the chance and use “Available on Request” when application time is limited.

 Some companies will ask you for references prior to interview if you are a leading candidate, if you don’t list them in full. The advantage of this approach is that you can choose and contact them without having to sit on your CV and wait – where there are large numbers of candidates this will take up crucial time.

 IF you have some in mind and know they will provide information, you can use TWO as a general rule – one work related if possible, and most recent. Include WORK addresses, phone and email contact details.

11. NOW WHAT?

 A few things to remember:-

 Use this CV as a general starting point, your basic, from which others can be evolved for other jobs. It’s also a staring point for any application, as it (and your skills profile) puts all the information at your fingertips.

 Always read the person specification or the job advert carefully and see how your CV matches it – tweak as required always. If you apply for the same type of job STILL check – if it’s different jobs, then once again apply the theory here to each section in an attempt to MATCH – The phrase “ on this occasion we had clients better matching the requirements of the job..”  is often due to bashing out the same CV at jobs which on the face of it appear the same, but actually are not.

 Apply the same procedure to stored online CVs on sites such as CV Library, Monster, Jobsite – it’s quick and easy to hit the Send CV Button, but it’s not wise or profitable..

 The CV I have given you here is not original in its composition, but its one you can move sections around and maybe lose one or two – and that’s the key, keeping it flexible and adaptable to each new opportunity which comes along.

Good luck

and

Best

Wishes

David Denny

 Feel free to Email me with comments or for some brief advice on the CV you produce with this guide.

 daviddenny@live.co.uk

 

 
 

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