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In this section
Top 20 CV Tips
Simple CV Tips to help increase your chances of being selected for Interview
HOW LONG: Try and keep to two pages (three pages as an absolute maximum). If you feel it will support your case for a specific application attach a separate document as an appendix, separate attachment of case studies or detail specifics in the cover letter.
GRAPHICS AND PHOTOGRAPHS: Personally, I quite like photos - most hate them! It is a reason for people to make assumptions about you, so advice would be don't bother unless it is relevant to the application. Use a subtle graphic or watermark if you choose to do so BUT keep it simple and appropriate.
CONTACT INFORMATION AT THE TOP (WITHIN THE HEADER): Put your name and contact details at the top of the CV or within the 'header' (however, some recruitment software is unable to read headers)
PERSONAL PROFILES: The world is split on this one - some people love them, and some don't even read them! Why not detail a short paragraph detailing your key skills and traits, core values and passions.
CAREER OBJECTIVE: Do not use specific job titles unless you are tailoring your CV to each and every role. i.e. "Graduate Aerospace Engineer seeks career role within a growing aeronautical organisation" could mean that you are discounted from the ideal graduate engineer role with an F1 team that you'd be ideal for! Use generic career objectives if placing your CV on a CV job board or with a recruitment consultancy.
LIST OF SKILLS: All recruitment companies and many employers now use CV parsing software that 'auto-reads' your details and populates the database fields. The very latest software matches CV's to job specifications in an automated process and provides a shortlist and a percentage match to the specification using a combination of keyword matching, artificial intelligence and an algorithm that predicts suitability. Trust me it is unbelievably quick AND accurate. Detailing core skills is therefore a must in this digital age. See writing a CV for a job board.
EDUCATION/QUALIFICATIONS/PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS: Detail your highest level of education first. Then detail other formal qualifications, other education, and Professional Memberships/Affiliations in the order you deem most necessary to your sector. If you are a recent graduate detail your core subjects and dissertation title. Unless you are a recent graduate do not waste valuable CV space going into the depths of detailing the individual grades of your O-Levels/.GCSE's/A-Levels/CSE's, etc - detailing your passes in the core Maths, English subjects will suffice. i.e. Achieved '9 GCE 'O-Levels' at Grade C and above including English and Maths'. NB Some employers pay more credence to your 'A-Level' grades than your degree! If they're good - detail them! Do not under any circumstances tell a mistruth about your education or memberships - they are incredibly easy to verify which is a standard step in any requirement process nowadays.
OTHER INFORMATION: Don't detail your marital status as you don't have to. This is unless you are married, happily single or feel it wholly appropriate to the application NB It is actually illegal to discriminate on the basis of marital status. Detail your driving status if it's a requirement of the role or if you have a full clean driving license. Detail your eligibility to work in the EU for any employer or your visa/passport status if from outside of the EU. Do not put your passport number on your CV for reasons detailed in point 10. Due to recent age legislation, more and more people are choosing not to put their age and date of birth on their CV - don't feel that you have to.
NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBERS: Do not ever, ever, ever put your National Insurance number on your CV! Together with your name, address, date of birth and employment information you are leaving yourself open to significant identity fraud.
- SHOULD YOU PUT YOUR ADDRESS? This is a debated one but generally just putting your general location can be the best route. Read here for a full breakdown of should you include your address on your CV?
THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING: More and more offers of employment and offers of second interviews are being withdrawn as employers can find out more about you searching through your social network 'footprint'. The famous example was the retraction of a job offer for a high flying city lawyer who boasted on his 'blog' that he did nothing at his employer but shop on the Internet, pick up a six figure salary and regularly partake in recreational pharmaceuticals. Particularly if you have an unusual name, amazing detail of your lifestyle, behaviour and beliefs can be uncovered with one Google search. Companies will not admit to doing this as part of their recruitment procedure - But, be warned, THEY DO!
11. DETAIL YOUR CAREER IN REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER: Do the first job first and work backwards. Your most recent experience, the last 5 years, is perceived as most important and is given the highest 'weight' in deciding whether to invite you, or not, for interview.
12. USE SHORT PARAGRAPHS AND BULLET POINTS: Be succinct - do not waffle or pontificate and definitely don't try to make your sales job more exotic by preposterous waffle, i.e. 'initiating strategic partnerships and management process initiatives aimed at restructuring procurement decisions in the favour of my organisation'. Remember this is your sales tool - use it to sell yourself - think careful about the words that you use. Read it aloud, can anyone who doesn't know your industry understand what you did, what you sold? People don't like reading more than three sentence paragraphs so use short paragraphs and bullet points. The average recruiter will skim read CVs looking for applicable points and experience. Decision makers want to read facts - how have you increased sales, decreased costs, improved systems, increased customer satisfaction, built a database, increased investment, drove down supplier rates, etc. Particularly use facts that you can back up at interview with evidence - case studies, testimonials, league tables, P60's, etc. (many employers will expect to see evidence of your claims at interview stage and it is imperative that you know your own facts and figures at interview)?
13. KEYWORDS: By thinking of the kind of keywords that recruiters and hirers will use to find your details before writing your CV you will have a dramatically more successful experience. Detail your skills, client accounts, different terms for your role, etc. For greater explanation and some neat tricks view writing your CV for a job board.
14. JARGON: Do not use jargon or abbreviations. Even abbreviations such as KPI's and TQM, whilst widely used in business are not understood by everyone.
15. REASONS FOR LEAVING: Detailing reasons for leaving, however valid, usually come across as excuses. It is not necessary so don't bother. Should a prospective employer want to know more they can ask you at interview.
16. CURRENT SALARY: Again many employers like to see this progression; however, it can work against you. For instance, if you were in a £45K international sales development role and left to take a £30K UK-based salary to breathe life back into your work-life balance, it may be perceived as a backwards step. If it is continuous progression then detail it. Don't overstate your earnings as many employers require P60s as part of their referencing process and they will see your earnings YTD on your P45 anyhow.
17. INTERESTS/HOBBIES: Many books and CV advice sites say that this is superfluous information. However I use it extensively as a hirer to get a 'flavour' of a person and start every interview with a discussion around the hobbies/interests to put the candidate at ease. DO NOT solely detail 'reading and socialising with friends' but I would advise detailing one intellectual interest, one team sport, perhaps another sport and perhaps an art/creative interest. If you are interested in reading expand upon it, i.e. reading 1950's crime fiction novels. Do not ever detail an interest that you are not knowledgeable about - it really, really can backfire!
18. REFERENCES: If you do not wish to detail your references don't even waste valuable CV space on 'References: Available upon Request'
19. FONTS AND TEXT: Ensure the CV looks 'tidy' and you have all the CV in the same font and text size, it shows you take pride in the appearance of your CV.
20. LINKS TO PUBLICATIONS/WEBSITES: It is becoming more popular to attach links to personal websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, articles published, publications, etc. This is absolutely fine but think about the content - does it portray you in your very best light, and is it relevant? Links to companies that you've worked for and projects that you've completed will certainly do no harm.
Date published: 21st November 2022
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by Sophie Jones
About the author
Sophie is a Senior Consultant within Aaron Wallis, who thoroughly enjoys working with candidates to prepare for their job search, ensuring the roles they are considering are right for them. Looking at their essential requirements to make sure the next move is the correct one. Also, this helps Sophie speak with her clients in confidence about the candidates they should be considering. Sophie is also the point of contact for anyone looking to join the team at Aaron Wallis. She supports candidates through the interview process making sure that we are the right company for them, and sales recruitment is the right industry choice.
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HR Manager, Zircon Software Ltd
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Director, Blakedown Sport & Play Ltd
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Sales Manager, TR Fasteners
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Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd
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Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International
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HR and General Manager, THK
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Sales Director, Inside Business
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E. Fry, Candidate
Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.
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C. Rockliffe, Candidate
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J. Parnham, Candidate
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J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate
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A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!
A. Bauchet, Candidate
I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!
D. Burgess, Candidate
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R. Speakman, Candidate
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S. Akers, Candidate
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J. McGrattan, Candidate
Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.
M. Crisp, Candidate
Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.
S. Bartlett, Candidate
Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.
R. Sealy, Candidate
Simon was knowledgeable on his clients history, background and what their requirements were and he worked around time zones, holidays and a pandemic to get the right result.
J. Tooze, Candidate
The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.
K. Peacock, Candidate
I had the absolute pleasure of working with George Humphries on finding a placement best suitable for me.
A. Van Der Mescht, Candidate
Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.
E. Heley, Candidate
Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.
M. White, Candidate
When talking with Simon you felt relaxed cared to help you find a position that suited your needs
D. Pinder, Candidate
Sophie helped me secure a new role I have been searching for. She took her time to explain clear and concisely all I needed to succeed at the interview stage. Thanks again Sophie!
O. Oladejo, Candidate