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How Do I Write a Great CV?

11th January 2017

A curriculum vitae (CV) or ‘resume’ is a summary of your experience skills and education. Writing a CV can be one of the most difficult tasks, especially if you are starting from scratch. There is no right or wrong way to write them, but having a clear layout tailored to the role you are applying for can help you get noticed by an employer.
Still stuck? To help you get started on creating a CV, or to help you update one if you are struggling to get noticed, we have collated and answered some frequently asked questions that our consultants are asked when it comes to CV writing:
How long should a CV be?
A standard CV in the UK should be no longer than 2 sides of A4. Remember that recruiters will be looking at many CV’s at a time and may not even bother to look if they can see that your CV is 6 pages long.
What information should I include on my CV?

Things to think about including on your CV are:
Contact Details – Including full name, address, contact number, email address. This work is best to be presented at the top of your CV.  
Personal statement or profile – this can help to make you stand out. Placed underneath your contact details, this is a clear and concise way for you to draw the recruiter in. Highlight a few of your key skills and the reason why you would like to work in the sector or field that you are applying for as well as the career aims that you wish to achieve. Keep this short and snappy- about 200 words should do it.
Education – starting with the most recent, list and date all previous education with qualifications gained at each.
Skills – examples of this include, IT skills, managing people, working as a team etc.
Work experience – normally previous jobs rile but can also include voluntary roles and internships. The most recent should be at the top, with the name of the company, Job title and the time period you were in that role.
Achievements– this is a good opportunity to showcase your skills and attributes that would make you a suitable candidate for that new employer. If you have been recognised for an achievement or there is something that you are proud of within any previous employment (i.e. internal awards, testimonials from a client etc.) and they are relevant to the role you are applying for, it could be worth popping in.
Hobbies and interests –  Similar to achievements, if there is a particular hobby or interest that will add value or back up your skills to help you stand out, It’s probably worth mentioning, (i.e. learning a language or volunteer work). Generic examples (socialising with friends, going to the cinema etc.) are not worth mentioning.
Things you don’t have to include:
A photo – unless you’re applying for modelling or acting work, this is not relevant to include

Date of Birth – You can include this if you wish, but it is no longer a necessity since the enforcement of the Equality Act in 2010, made age discrimination illegal within the recruitment process.
Marital status and family
Employers are forbidden on making a decision based on your marital status and if you have a family, but if you think it could make your application more attractive, then you have the option to put it in.
Education or work experience – which one should appear first?
There is no right or wrong way for this but the generally you would put the one that has the greater first.  . If you are a recent graduate, without much relevant work experience, place your education first, and vice versa for if you have plenty of relevant work experience.
Do I need to write a covering letter?
Unless stated otherwise it is a good idea to include a covering letter with your CV. A cover letter will enable you to personalise your application and introduce yourself to the recruiter. Within the covering letter you can highlight key parts of your CV that will be relevant to the job you are applying for, and you can also disclose a disability or clarify any gaps within your work history.
I’ve had a career gap – do I need to explain this in my CV?
To avoid any misinterpretation it is best to inform a potential employer of your career gap. This can be explained in your covering letter, rather than in your CV.
Points to remember:
The key to writing a great CV is to remember these four points:
Grammar – Use a spell checker and ask a friend or relative to proof read to ensure there are no mistakes. Try to include as many active and positive words as possible (i.e. ‘analysed’, ‘created’, ‘solutions’ to increase the impact and persona for when a recruiter is reading it.

Layout – Your CV needs to flow – sectioning your information will help you to create a flow, but think about putting your most attractive and relevant skills near the top to draw in the reader. This is the same or when listing your education – always put the most recent qualification at the top.
Presentation –Choose a professional looking font in a regular size (10-12) and use bullet points to keep your CV looking neat, professional and easy to read. Bold type can also help to highlight sub sections when scanning.
Style – there is no right or wrong way in which you can present your CV. Try to think about the end user when designing your CV and make sure that you feel it shows you off in the best way possible.
However don’t forget that every job is different.  Tailoring your CV to the job in which you are applying for will help it to stand out. To ensure that you are the right match for the job try highlighting the following:

– The work and experience you have within the specific field.

– Relevant achievements

– An understanding of the job requirements

– The skills you have to offer the company.

How can we help you?
Our consultants are available to offer you support and advice on any of our advertised job roles within the healthcare sector. If you would like to find out more about the active job roles we have available with some of the UK and Europe’s well renowned healthcare companies, you can search for a role, send us a message or call the team on + 44 (0) 1494 818 000 or email enquiries@zenopa.com.

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