The Write Way to Get a Job: the right information to write into your CV-résumé

The write way to get a jobIt’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this article, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best way to express your career information in your CV/résumé…here’s Lynn!

In the last article I showed you how to structure your CV/résumé, so now I will show you how to write the content to go into the structure.

The SIX basic elements of your CV should be:

Heading

Firstly, ensure that your personal details are spelled correctly – this is your heading for your CV!

Identifying information should head the first page in a balanced, pleasant layout. This should include your name, address, telephone numbers and email address.

You may wish to have this information on the right-hand side of the page, making it readily visible to someone flipping through a pile of CVs.

Your objective or personal profile

If you feel it is appropriate, include your job objective. It can be a very strong selling point for the reviews if your objective clearly states:

  • That you want to do the type of job you are applying for
  • The reasons you want to do the job
  • The match between the job and your own skills and experience
  • What you can contribute to the role

However, if your objective does not match the job you are applying for, it is much better to omit it.

Included here are the reasons why your past experience has qualified you to do this job – why you can do what your objective stated you want to do.  This should be a short paragraph or one-liner, such as:

“Four years managerial experience running a major store for a national supermarket chain”

Alternatively, a positioning statement describing you and your skills in up to three sentences can nicely summarize your employability.

Achievements/results

This part of the CV could also be entitled Related Achievements or Professional Accomplishments. The purpose of this section is to present results that further support your objective or application for this particular job.  This section should contain lots of demonstrable facts and works particularly well when formatted into bullet points.  For each bullet point:

  • Identify the problem or situation
  • Use action verbs to define what you did
  • Identify what the results of your actions were
  • Illustrate the significance of the achievement in quantifiable terms, e.g. money, people, percentages, if possible.

Two examples of these are:

“Planned and built a new workshop facility for a property developer, ahead of schedule, with significant savings in projected construction costs”

and

“Managed and promoted a local fundraising campaign for a national charity that provided contributions exceeding £50,000, three times the previous record”

Make sure that the achievements strongly and directly support your job objective or your specific job application.

If you would prefer not to list your achievements separately, it is also acceptable to list them under each relevant job title (see Experience, below.)

Experience

The fourth part of the CV covers your employment history.  Using the term Experience makes a more positive statement.

Remember that a CV is a marketing/promotional tool and only those things that enhance your strengths should be included, whilst anything that would detract should be omitted.  Never be tempted to falsify any information on a CV – it just doesn’t work, and seriously jeopardizes others’ perception of your integrity.

This section should first state:

  •  Your most recent job title
  • The name of the company
  • Location
  • Dates employed.

Then give a brief job description, emphasizing the strengths that support your objective.  If you have not listed your achievements in a separate section, you should include them under each relevant job title.

When listing your jobs:

  • Do not give total number of months or years, or provide month-specific dates; this would set up an “is all the time accounted for?” mentality that would detract from the attention given to your accomplishments
  • Do not give reasons for leaving jobs, as this also detracts from your achievements in each role
  • Do not go into too much detail about each company’s business, as the CV reviewer wants to read about your achievements, not the company’s operation
  • Do not provide details of positions held more than ten to fifteen years ago; simply summarize the nature of this early experience, showing how you have progressed in your career, for example:
“Twelve years in positions of increasing responsibility in project management” 

Education

Educational background should be stated simply:

Highest Degree/Qualification First

  • Subject
  • Establishment
  • Dates
  • Prior Degrees/Qualifications

Secondary education should also be shown. Whilst (in the UK) it is useful to give A-level subjects, it is acceptable to just to number the GCSEs/O-Levels you have gained, rather than name each specific subject.

Other training, certificates, or educational attainments should also be shown if they provide significant support to your objective.

Other relevant data

This section is optional. It can include memberships, language skills and personal data that support your objective. Most CV reviewers like to see some indication of extra-curricular activities.  However, you should normally leave out of your CV explicit indications of religious affiliation, political orientation or controversial activities.

For the vast majority of jobs, in most industrialized countries you are under no obligation to state your age/date of birth, gender, any disability and marital or family status as these do not directly affect your ability to do the job. You must decide for yourself whether or not to include this information. Your consultant will be able to discuss this with you in more detail.

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Watch out for Lynn’s tips next week!

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)

“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)

“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write (PDF download)

Comments

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Thoughts

  1. Really good, detailed tips for job seekers. I wish I had a dollar for every resume I’ve received that included *way* too much irrelevant information and made me work far too hard to find the significant bits.

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