How to write the perfect CV

Your CV represents you before you have even had a chance to walk through the door, so it is important that it reflects your ability and your worth in the best way possible.

At BC Healthcare, we sort through 100s of CVs to find candidates most suited for the role, and often find that the smallest mistakes on a CV can reduce the quality and readability dramatically.

Keeping it short and simple is the best way to retain a potential employer’s attention. You do not need to fill more than 2 pages and there are several ways to achieve this:

  • Divide your CV into 4 main sections: Contact information, Personal profile, Training/ Qualifications and Previous Employment (and/or volunteer work if relevant).
  • Contact Information: A postcode, current email address and phone number is the minimum an employer needs to help us identify how local a job is to you, and gives us the quickest way to contact you for more information.
  • Keep your personal profile concise and specific to YOU, only summarising what your strongest skills are and what you are looking for in your next role
  • Try to avoid a general sweep of generic skills. 20 candidates might be a ‘good team player’ so try to be more specific. Don’t include details of your current job description, or what qualifications you have as these are outlined in the other sections.

If you are applying for a role in an industry that you have no previous experience in, consider using this section to aim your CV in the direction you want to head towards:

‘While I have no previous experience working in a care setting, I help care for my Autistic brother and often accompany him on social trips on the weekends. I also help organise social events for a group of young clients in the local community on a voluntary basis.’

Source: Greenhouse blog
  • Only include relevant training and education, either complete or undergoing. You do not need to provide a long specific list of modules covered, a complete list of GCSE grades, or anything that is now expired.
  • You do not need to list every job you have had, usually only the last 5–10 years are required depending on how long you have been employed at each position. This should also include any gaps such as unemployment, travel, or maternity leave. You could include a small note at the bottom stating ‘Previous employers include the following: X, Y and Z.’ These jobs must be listed in chronological order with the most recent at the top.
  • You should include a date of employment or voluntary work (even if it’s a rough estimate), name of employer/ Agency/ Company/ Job Title and a few bullet points outlining your typical duties.
  • Avoid repetition in every sentence ‘My duties include…, I also did this…, It was here that I…’. Also avoid copying and pasting job descriptions or using the same lines for every job. Instead, use this to outline what skills you learnt in that particular role ‘Communicating any changes to management effectively, able to multitask between making observations and leading the activity’.
  • You do not necessarily have to include details of your availability or your references, as employers will contact you for this information if and when needed.

 

Once you have your information down, proof read several times. Use spell check and ask someone to read it for you. Spelling mistakes promote sloppiness, and mistakes in the names of employers can be especially confusing when recruiters need to request references.

  • Hobbies and interests can be useful if kept short and interesting, especially if they relate to the job and could enhance your employability. This could include learning any additional languages, sporting activities, volunteer work or any recreational courses taken.
  • If you find that you are still over 2 pages, consider your formatting and layout. Typically we advise an easy to read such as Calibri, font sized 11–12. Elaborate borders and boxes can also take up space or make it difficult to read.
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