10 CV and resume tips

Tips for writing a CV or resume

Aside from the usual "keep it tidy", "tell the truth" advice, here are ten tips for you to ensure your resume (CV) is as successful as possible. Remember, however, that these are just general tips and one person's advice may not suit everyone.

1. The reader is in a rush
Most importantly, always remember that whoever reads your resume will be in a hurry. Whether they have a pile of resumes to look through or they're in the middle of some other task, you have possibly just a few seconds to make an impression. This is not the time for fancy prose and an eloquent way with words - save that for the interview. Make the information they want as accessible and easy-to-scan as possible.
2. Think of the order
Based on the previous tip, the reader may not have time to look through all of your accomplishments so list the most relevant and/or most recent information first. Use pen and paper to write down notes and sketch out ideas before you even go near a computer.
3. Try to use numbers where possible.
Figures catch the eye and are easy to remember, so indicate how many of something you produced, how much time you saved the company or how much extra revenue you generated. Your contribution to previous companies may be difficult to put into numbers but it's worth trying to quantify if you can.
4. Match your resume to each application
You are likely to be applying to several jobs so be sure to customize your resume for each application. You may use a single template but it's then worth structuring your details so that what you can offer matches what the company is looking for as much as possible.
5. Don't make them yawn
If you decide to include a one-line self-introduction, try to make it interesting and attention-grabbing. One way is to be relatively specific rather than rely on the overused "self-starter" that actually means very little.
6. ...aaaaand action!
In describing your past roles, never say what you did - say what you achieved. Use some of these dynamic action words to make the reader sit up and take notice.
7. Nobody's perfect
As well as your successes, consider mentioning one or two failures. Not only does this show honesty and the ability to self-appraise but also gives you the chance to specify what you learned. This could even form the basis of a discussion during the interview, giving you the chance to prepare positive answers in advance.
8. Not just what you did but why
While remembering to keep it concise, consider adding why you did certain things, not just what you did. This could demonstrate forward-thinking and goal-setting, as well as help avoid a resume looking disjointed.
9. Do what they say
It's obvious advice but have you checked you're following the company's rules. Have they asked for a certain number of pages? Is there a particular format they prefer? Even if there are no guidelines, you could contact the HR department to ask about their preferences and give yourself a head-start.
10. Triple-check for errors
You've spell-checked your resume, you've re-read it on-screen, now it's time to print it out and read it out loud. Although the content is the same, a paper copy is surprisingly effective at bringing to your attention any grammatical errors or phrases that simply don't read well. Even if you're sending your resume by email or online, this is an important final step before you click "Send".