Your guide to writing a successful CV

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What will this guide cover?

Whether you’re writing a CV from a blank canvas or updating an old version of your CV, this guide will provide you with tips and advice you need to ensure that your CV gets noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager.

Here is what you’ll find inside this guide:

  1. What to think about before you begin 
  2. Structuring your CV 
  3. Writing your personal statement or career objective 
  4. Your career experience 
  5. Showcasing your skills
  6. Highlighting your achievements 

1. Six things you should ask yourself before you begin

You may feel like you have all your information set out and ready, but you should create a tailored document which is going to be suitable for the roles which you are applying for. So let’s take some time to think about what you are looking for in your next position.

  • Ask yourself these questions?
  • Review yourself
  • Why am I looking for a new role?
  • What salary and benefits package am I looking for in my new employer?
  • What kind of business, culture would I like to join?
  • Which position supports my long-term career and professional goals?
  • Which skills do I want to develop more?
  • Do I have any deal breakers?
  • What don’t you want, and what do you want?

Once you know what type of role you are looking for and the skills and knowledge you hold, you can start your search for the position or similar roles on our job search or online.

Review these job descriptions and list out the most common skills, competencies, software and applications for you and understand where you have relevant experience.

2. Structuring your CV

You’re now ready to start building a CV which reflects you and your professional experience.

Firstly, let’s start by saying there is no one correct way to write or structure your CV, however there a few elements which will help you have a cleaner and clear layout on your CV.

Remember that your CV will be seen by many recruiters, hiring managers, HR and talent acquisition professional, be mindful that the hiring manager will know what they are looking for in a candidate. Other professionals may only be aware of some buzz words, so your CV must read clearly for both readers.

Now, start by building your structure in a Word document or any other word editor. Simple design software such as Canva can help you design your CV and make it stand out.

The Structure
  • Contact details
    Include your name, contact number, LinkedIn profile, phone number etc. here)

  • Personal Statement
    Include a summary of your career so far, what you have done, skills you have gained, this only needs to be few sentences long. Keep it short and concise.

    Skip to personal statement

  • Employment History and Key Achievements
    Provide details of work experience, paid or voluntary you can also add in key achievements of each role too.

    Skip to employment history

  • Key Skills

    Provide a bulleted list of your skills ensure they are relevant to the role you are applying or looking for.

    Skip to key skills

  • Education and Industry Qualifications such as (IWFM and RICS)
    Include details of all education, including grade and any relevant training or industry qualifications you have gained.

  • Interests and other information
    Here is where you can include any volunteering or any activities which you enjoy taking part in outside of work.

  • References

    References aren’t usually included on a CV, and it is okay if you simply state “Reference available on request.”

3. Writing your personal statement

Your personal statement should be added directly after your contact details. This will be the first section to be read by a recruiter or hiring manager. So this must capture their attention.

Useful tips to writing your personal statement:

  1. Tell the reader who you are, your level of experience and years experience. “I am a Facilities Manager with six years’ experience managing teams of 6 – 12 individuals.”

  2. Outline your key skills and any significant achievements which set you apart from the competition.

  3. Explain your career ambition and what you are looking for in your next role.

Example personal statement 

A Facilities Manager with 8 of years’ experience within the FM sector looking after the maintenance of a single high profile site. I have experience in soft services management and managing a team of six. I’m also highly motivated and driven to achieve business targets and customer expectations.

3. Your employment history

Now we can tell the potential employer/recruiter about your employment history. You should start this with the most current role and list each position in chronological order.

Each role should have the following format:

  • Job title

  • Dates of employment

  • Company name

  • Location

  • Key responsibilities

  • Achievements

Try to avoid leaving gaps in your employment history. Be as transparent as you can and try to explain what you were doing during the time which you weren’t actively working.

Explain the value you added to the role/business rather than listing your daily duties. It is also best practice to let the employer or recruiter know if a role was temporary or permanent.

Review the types of jobs you are applying to and ensure that you use the same terminology and keywords used in the job description.

You can also provide more information on the roles which you feel are more relevant to the job which you are applying for.

Example: 

Facilities Manager, [Company name] – December 2018 – January 2020 – Manchester 

  • Managing and supporting a team of 10 
  • Implementing health and safety procedures 
  • Reporting on response times

5. Showcasing your skills

Now you should list your skills to the reader, a simple list of the skills and specific platforms/applications you use which relate to the role you are applying for. You can reference these in your personal profile and work experience sections.

Technical skills
These are the skills which you have acquired during your career:
  • Microsoft Office Package

  • CAFM packages

  • Any other software packages or platforms used in your profession

Soft skills
These are personal and interpersonal attributes that help you work with others and achieve your goals:
  • Leadership skills

  • Time management

  • Organisational skills

  • Communication/networking

  • Tech savviness

  • Project management

  • People management

If you get stuck identifying your transferable skills, think about previous experiences such as teaching yourself how to set up a website or maybe some home renovations which you carried out. These tasks will have required you to use or acquire different skills.

6. Highlighting your achievements

When you are writing the employment history section, you should use action verbs to communicate what you achieved.

Example action verbs:

  • Demonstrating leadership and management skill Chaired, coordinated, executed, organised, managed, headed, operated, directed, mentored, managed, supervised, organised

  • Demonstrate creativity skills Created, designed, engineered, developed, implemented, built, implemented

  • Demonstrate money-saving and efficiency skills Consolidated, yielded, decreased, reduced, achieved, capitalised, delivered, maximised, leveraged, improved

  • Demonstrate improvement skills Influenced, redesigned, integrated, merged, refocused, simplified, restructured, standardised, streamlined, transformed.

  • Demonstrate overall achievements Attained, completed, demonstrated, exceeded, outperformed, showcased, reached, succeeded, targeted

7. Proofreading and error checking

You are nearly there and have worked so hard to create the perfect CV. Don’t forget to proofread it properly. So here are CV errors to look out for:

Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
  • Use the spelling-checking software on your computer or use an online grammar software such as Grammarly to help you spot and correct any grammatical errors.
  • Print off your CV or document and read it out loud, it will be easier to spot any errors.
    Ask someone to proofread the document for you, they may spot things which you miss.
Formatting and consistency
  • Ensure your tone of voice and language is consistent throughout the document
  • Use the same font and font size – it’s okay to make headings bold, slightly bigger or a different colour
  • Don’t write in both first and third-person
  • Keep your design and layout simple, avoid using backgrounds and clipart

Finally, it's time to register your CV.

Once you’re happy with your CV and its job application ready, find the job search platforms, recruitment agencies which you wish to register with. You can register with us here.

Our registration takes less than a minute and allows you to set up job alerts and manage your applications. When you have registered one of our recruiters will contact you to understand your job search requirements.

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