Whether you are drafting a CV for an internal promotion, a new job or a voluntary post its always good to take advice. We asked Sarah Siddiqui our resident CV expert (solicitor, CV writer and career coach) a few questions about how to make your CV work for you.
Having looked at so many CVs across the legal profession and outside of it as well. What are the top 3 things that you would advise someone to do when they look to write or update their CV in order to really make it shine?
There are many elements that go into making a CV standout from the crowd but if I had to pick three it would be:
- Make sure to include a high impact professional profile or summary paragraph introducing yourself at the beginning of the CV – this snapshot summary helps the reader understand who you are, what you have done and what you now want to do at the outset.
- Focus on and highlight your achievements from your career history. Prospective employers like to see how you performed / what value you added in your respective roles as well as your day to day responsibilities. It is your achievements / contributions that are unique to you and show the reader what you are capable of.
- Your CV does not need to be an exhaustive chronological list of everything you have done in your career. It is essentially a marketing document so think strategically when writing it.
What things do you most commonly have to correct within a CV?
Spelling mistakes! It is always worth asking one or even two people to proof read as spelling mistakes no matter how small can cost you that all important interview.
What one formatting tip would you give to anyone writing a CV?
Minimum size 10 font and use generic or common font types such as Arial, Calibre or even Cambria My standard go to font is Cambria 11. Also always justify the text. This spaces things out and makes for an easier read. I appreciate that is three tips instead of one but they are all important!
What’s the best bit of career advice anyone has ever given you?
Never underestimate the power of networking / building up your connections! You never know when they can come in handy, point you in the right direction or even recommend you for your dream job.
Thanks so much for that Sarah, really insightful and some practical points as well as some inspiration when CV drafting there!
We are always happy to give pointers on a CV as part of a job search or through our app but if you feel you would benefit from Sarah’s help in optimising and getting your CV really into shape just get in touch. Our stand alone CV optimise service (£75+ VAT) or a CV and corresponding LinkedIn profile package (£130 + VAT) will give you personal marketing documents to be proud of!