Brush up your CV

Our Campaigns Manager, Dave Bracher, takes you through the steps to creating an outstanding CV.

Returning to work after an SCI can be a challenging and daunting prospect, but everyone who does so each year shows that this journey is achievable with the right attitude and support. For some people, however, their SCI may lead to a change of career; perhaps because they simply can’t return to their previous job, or because they take the opportunity for a change of direction and a new role.

Whatever the reason for applying for a new job, having a strong CV that presents your skills and abilities in the best light is crucial. A well-written CV or online job application, along with a strong covering letter, helps to form the initial impressions of an applicant and whether they should be actively considered for the role or not.

The following tips for writing a great CV have been gathered from a range of sources and will ensure that your CV is up-to-date, relevant and presents your skills and experience in the best way.

What’s the point?

The objective of a CV is to ‘sell’ your skills and experiences in the best possible light and demonstrate you’re the best person for the job. It needs to be strong enough to quickly capture an employer’s attention and make them want to find out more – by inviting you to an interview. If your CV is strong enough to secure that interview, then it’s done its job!

KISS (or Keep It Simple and Specific)

A CV should be easy to read and have positive, confident language throughout. Generally, the accepted length is two sides of A4, and each CV should be tailored to a specific job.

An employer will want to see you’ve studied the job description and may use an automated search for key words, hence the need to tailor your CV. A one-size CV does not fit all!

Be professional

Your CV must be accurate, with no spelling or grammatical errors. Don’t rely on a spell check tool – get other people to proofread it for you. Ideally a CV should be typed, with a clear, professional font and section headings. Remember, the easier you make it for an employer to understand, the more likely you are to be asked to attend an interview.

Language

Popular buzzwords like ‘hard working’, ‘team player’, ‘results-driven’ or ‘excellent communicator’ are qualities an employer will want, but unless they are backed up with specific examples and evidence, they quickly become meaningless.

Make your CV stand out by avoiding empty phrases and highlighting your achievements and successes.

Be honest

Never lie! There’s an enormous difference between portraying your skills and experiences in the best light and making things up. For great examples of what happens when people exaggerate on CVs and job applications, watch any episode of The Apprentice when Claude Littner interviews the candidates!

What style of CV?

The most popular type of CV is a performance or chronological CV. This features your most recent job and works backwards from there, highlighting company/role details as well as achievements. This should decrease in detail with older jobs, allowing more space to dedicate more detail to your most recent roles and a fuller explanation of your achievements in those posts.

Download this document for more information about what you should consider when creating a performance CV.

This information originally appeared as part of an article in FORWARD magazine, February 2020.  For more details about FORWARD visit: www.spinal.co.uk/learn/our-magazine/