How to create an Award winning CV

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’, says Julie Cook-Hughes, Managing Director of one of the south’s leading recruitment agencies, SOS recruitment.

Julie opens her doors for the first time to reveal some secrets to success when looking for work in today’s climate. Julie is a true expert in the recruitment field having set up SOS in 2000 and she has been at the forefront of the recruitment industry for nearly 20 years. Julie is a pioneer for innovation and bridging the gaps between candidate and client. As she often says, you really do never get a second chance to make a first impression, so we talk to her about how to create an award-winning CV. Something that is the first point of call when looking to climb the career ladder…

Keeping your Curriculum Vitae up to date, easy to digest and to the point can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when looking for a new role, but one that is vital to the process. Your Curriculum Vitae must be sharp, concise and kept simple at all times. If you only remember one thing, let this be it. Imagine it is a document marketing yourself to the employer and why YOU are perfect for the job in question. Therefore this is the time to emphasis your characteristics, skills and positive traits; everything from achievement s to examples of being both a leader and a team player.

See your Curriculum Vitae as a form of advertising so focus on the role at hand and why you embody every part of it.  Ask yourself, ‘why should I have the job?’, then write a list of the reasons and apply these to your Curriculum Vitae.  Then during the interview refer back to these and sell in how you are the perfect match above anybody else.

There are certain dos and don’ts when it comes to the actual presentation of your curriculum vitae too;

  1. The number one essential ‘must’ is to keep it honest and factual at all times. The employer will find out if you have been dishonest at some point; whether this be through references or asking you a question further down the line that you fail you answer.
  2. Check grammar and spelling. If there are ANY misspellings and errors these will immediately put off any employer. If you can’t take the time to check what you have written, let alone run a spell-check, then this will speak volumes to the employer. They may take errors in the document as lack of care or concern, or pure laziness which you do not want.
  3. A strong CV should always be well-written and ideally no longer than two pages. This should be accompanied with a covering letter with no more than two paragraphs. Start with a personal Profile, followed by Employment History, Education & Skills, Hobbies & Interests.  Keeping things to the point is of the utmost important so cut the waffle, try to avoid long sentences, leave out irrelevant information and stay focused on the specific role you are going for. You do not want to lose the reader’s attention.
  4. Crucial to the point above is remembering to keep your CV well presented and set out. White space is easy on the eye and keeps it clean.  Avoid coloured paper, complex fonts, shading or fancy wording or boxes; these will only act as distractions after all. Use the same font and ensure that headings are consistent.
  5. Never include salary expectations as you may well fall at the first hurdle if you do. The economic climate has changed over the last few years and so stating your salary desires, holiday or any other benefits will put an employer off. This may result in you never even getting into the interview room. See your CV as your chance to shine and showcase yourself regardless of monetary benefits to prove how good you really are!
  6. Similarly, marital status, nationality, religion, has no bearing on your ability to do the job so leave these off.
  7. Lastly, this might seem simple but so many candidates fail to head up their CVs correctly. An obvious, smart title including your name and contact details is essential because if the employer likes you and wants to invite you to the interview, why make them struggle to contact you? Your name should be loud and proud as you are the asset after all! One thing to note, if you currently have an inappropriate or comedy email address change it immediately – it will only mark you out as unprofessional.   

So remember these 7 steps to success and use them to create a truly award-winning CV. It’s crucial to keep a strong, up to date CV on file ready for when you want to take on a new challenge, move up the career ladder or discover your ideal career.

The team at SOS recruitment are experienced, professional and approachable…. they’d love to hear from you!

SOS recruitment
01202 292888

For Permanent work call 01202 292888 option 1 or email
For Temporary work call 01202 292888 option 2 or email
For Workforce call 01202 229888 option 3 or email
181-183 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1JU or 212 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1PD

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