7 steps to a great English CV

So, you’ve found an advert for your perfect job. You’ve got the skills and experience, you would be a great match for the company and you’re sure you could impress them in an interview. But, how do you get the chance to show them what a perfect employee you would be? To get your dream job, you need a great English CV and here’s how to write one.

State your objective to add focus

What do you want to achieve by applying for this job? Write this down before you even start on your CV. It will help you focus and make sure all the information you choose to add in your CV is relevant to this goal. Many people like to include this at the top of the CV, just beneath the address with a title like ‘Objective’ or ‘Personal statement’. Even if you choose not to include this later, write it down for your reference because you’ll need it in a later step.

Review and edit your history

Make a list of all your previous jobs and educational qualifications. Write down everything you can remember including the company information, certificates, degrees, your job titles and duties, and specific accomplishments. Don’t worry if it’s a mess at this stage, we’re going to sort that out later.

Decide on your perfect layout

A lot of people talk about the ‘perfect layout’ for a CV. The truth is – there is no perfect layout for a CV. The important thing is to make sure it is clear, easy to read, not too long and that it looks professional. Remember, the person reading it will have seen hundreds of CVs so you need to make it really easy for them to see what a great candidate you are!

Usually the format will be address and contact details at the top, followed by a personal statement, then your professional skills, employment history (starting with your current or most recent job), academic and professional qualifications with other interests at the end.

Edit your employment history to focus on achievements

Employers don’t just want to know what you did in your previous job, they want to know how well you did it. If one of your duties was making processes more efficient, include how much more efficient you made them. If you were responsible for increasing sales, how much did you increase them by?

This is where your big list will come in handy. Edit the list down to the achievements that will make you look better than the other applicants. For each job in your employment history, make sure you have at least one quantifiable achievement.

Adjust your English grammar to make things fit

Use shortened sentences to fit more information into a smaller space. Leave out sentence subjects (e.g. I, my manager), possessive pronouns (my/mine, his/hers), and sometimes even articles (the, a). If you’re listing more than one accomplishment in a sentence you can replace “and” with a semicolon. Example: “I led an important project and my manager gave me an promotion” would become “Led key project; promoted by manager.”

Use action verbs to grab the reader’s attention

Action verbs show a specific action, e.g. solved, managed, initiated, accomplished. Examples of passive verbs are am, was, have and had. In a resume, action verbs make you sound like a motivated, energetic person – just the type someone would want to hire! Example: “Managed a team of 20 employees” sounds more powerful than “Was in charge of 20 employees.”

Proof-read it… and again!

So, your CV is nearly perfect. Make sure you don’t waste all your hard work by leaving any silly little mistakes in there. Proof-read your CV. Then proof-read it again later. Looking at it again when your eyes are fresh will help you catch any little mistakes that could make a bad impression on an employer.

Now you have a perfect CV, you can send it out and start getting ready for your interview!