New year, new job

Round & About

Want a change of job and need some help writing that perfect CV? Judith Coslett has some great advice 

Would you like to make changes in your working life this year? A promotion, more work-life balance or perhaps a return to work after a career break? Your first step in securing this move is writing your CV and this is where a few tips can make a big difference. 

Layout – make your CV easy on the eye. Use standard margins and a normal size font and don’t be tempted to jam too much onto one page. 

Length – 2 pages is ideal. If you are struggling to keep to this limit, you may be giving too much detail about your early career. Your most recent experience is what interests the recruiter most. There’s no need to detail everything you did many years ago. 

Introduction – keep your personal profile brief, 1 or 2 short sentences. It should present you as though someone were introducing you, stating your profession, highest level qualification and experience.  

Suitability – show how you are suitable for the new job. Include the skills and experience the recruiter is after and make it easy for them to find this by bullet-pointing rather than hiding it in long paragraphs of text. 

Relevance – if parts of your previous job are not relevant to the new job, leave them out. Just list the tasks and responsibilities that are similar. The recruiter doesn’t need to know everything you did in a role, just the aspects which match the new job. 

Hobbies and interests – only include these if they are relevant to the job or you are applying for your first job and using your hobbies to evidence your skills. The recruiter may have a negative view of your particular hobby based on their own experience and you want to avoid discrimination.  

Unexplained gaps – don’t leave anything unexplained if it could be assumed to be some sort of problem. If you left a job after a short time say why, so the recruiter doesn’t wonder whether you were sacked. If you were unemployed for a long time, state what you were doing so the recruiter doesn’t draw their own conclusions. 

Some people are better than others at expressing themselves in writing or formatting documents on a computer. If you struggle with this, it is probably worth getting your CV professionally produced as a poor CV may hamper your chances in the employment market. A good consultant should ask for details of the sort of job you’re going for, so they can tailor your CV to that and give you the best possible chance at being short-listed for interview. 

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Judith Coslett is an experienced CV writer and interview coach based in Guildford.