The art of writing a good CV

Recruiters are looking for confident candidates who provide facts and figures to support their successes rather than vague generalisations.

For instance, it’s no good casually mentioning you have a proven track-record in generating business. What would really impress the recruiter is learning how much business you delivered and in what time-frame.

Similarly, it’s best to steer clear of meaningless jargon, such as “hardworking”, “teamplayer” and “pro-active” as every Tom, Dick and Harry that applies for a job has exactly those qualities, too. It’ll make the recruiter’s day if instead you give hard evidence that illustrates why you are all those things – and more.

In short, if you can discipline yourself to make use of active, upbeat language in presenting your achievements you’re well on the way to beating the rest of the pack to an interview. Here are a few pointers…

Be positive – avoid using negative words

Don’t say…

Hate/abandoned/avoided/argued/tried

Do say…

Overcame/reorganised/accomplished/persuaded/delivered

 Never generalise

Don’t say…

Proven track-record at increasing profits

Do say…

Generated an increase in profit of 20%

Use active sentences

Don’t say…

A database was created

Do say…

Created a database

Use high-impact words

Don’t say…

Exposed to/helped/participated in/etc

Do say…

Activated/implemented/motivated/exceeded/etc

Never simply list your job-spec, be assertive about what you do
Don’t say…

Responsible for managing the restaurant and generating turnover

Do say…

Managed a 100-seat restaurant, generating £2,000 turnover a week

Present any negative experiences in a positive way

Don’t say…

Even though I failed to meet my target, I learned about …

Do say…

The experience taught me a lot about people management

Be confident about your abilities

Don’t say…

Some of my managers have told me I have good customer-facing skills

Do say…

I have good customer-facing skills, developed through…

But be warned

Selling yourself is one thing, using so many positive adjectives that your skills sound unbelievable is another. And always tailor your CV to be relevant to the job you’re applying for, mirroring the keywords used in the job advertisement.