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Here are some brief recommendations I have for CVs. I’ve written this approach starting from the beginning of the CV and continuing until the end: 1. Name and Contact details typically at the top. This is fine. Avoid an unprofessional email address. 2. Some kind of profile or personal statement. This is also fine although two key points to address (i) do not refer to yourself in the third person. Who are we supposed to think wrote the CV? A biographer? Clearly it’s the person whose name is at the head of the CV. Referring to yourself in the 3rd person is just weird. (ii) Make the statement bespoke to the role for which you are applying. Don’t play the numbers game. Apply for roles you directly feel suit your skill set and craft the CV to sell yourself for that role. 3. List ‘Work History’ before ‘Education’ unless you’ve recently left education. 4. When writing dates then include the month as well. The amount of time spent working in roles is important. If you’re not clear with dates then it makes one question if something is being covered up. It’s also easier to read if the month is written in word format rather than numerical. 5. If you’ve worked for a company and their name isn’t necessarily that well known then include a note about the company’s profile. Include the job title. Follow this by a brief summary, perhaps in bullet point, of your role and your achievements. Given your experience is of a sales background then do include numbers to indicate sales performance. Gross figures are often better than percentages for employers. Hitting 200% against a £500 target isn’t as significant as increasing average monthly revenues from £25,000 to £50,000. Percentages can also suggest a cover up. 6. Include a ‘Reason for Leaving’. You will always be asked why you left Company X so save the employer time by including the reason. Indeed, use the opportunity to place a positive spin on why you looked to move on. 7. Perhaps include a testimonial for your work within the company. Borrowed from LinkedIn, I find this to have a very positive effect on the CV. 8. Conclude with ‘Education’ followed by ‘Interests’ and then ‘References’. It should go without saying but apparently this comment falls on deaf ears constantly: check your CV for typos and grammatical errors. Once you’ve checked the CV then check it again, ask someone else to check it and then ask another person. I would estimate that 95% of the CVs I view contain errors. Errors occur in every day communication but they’re not allowed on a CV because this is your one chance to impress the reader. If your CV contains an error then it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and gives the employer a reason to pass over your CV and focus on other individuals. If anyone has any further improvements to make to the humble CV then I’d be delighted to hear from you and add to this post. Ewan McKay

Post Author: Ewan McKay

Ewan runs a recruitment business specialising in sales jobs and marketing jobs for media companies.

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