Top 10 CV Tips
When it comes to writing a CV everyone has their own opinion as to what’s best. We’re not saying that this will work every time and actually we’d usually suggest tailoring a CV to the role that you are applying for, but based on the 25 years+ experience we have of reviewing CVs and discussing with clients what they like to see when they are recruiting marketing staff into their teams we thought we’d share 10 handy hints and tips:
- Keep your CV to 2-3 pages – for many this may sound simple and an obvious point but for some with 15 years+ relevant experience it can be easier said than done.
- Ensure your name and contact details are at the start of the CV – in a bid to save time and space some people find all sorts of ways of trying to fit in their contact details. You are in marketing – this is your main call to action if you do want someone to respond to your job application so make sure it’s clearly visible.
- List your roles in reverse chronological order – it’s more than likely that your most recent job is your most relevant job so you want to make the best impression by getting that information across to the reader as soon as possible. There are some instances when you may have been doing temporary work or non marketing related jobs more recently so in these circumstances you’ll need to title this section relevant experience to again enable you to bring it to the start of the CV.
- Explain what your employer does – it may be a given to you that everyone should know who your company are and what they do but this rarely is the case. A short snappy sentence explaining the nature of your employers business possibly including details of size in terms of turnover, market-share, number of employees and target market helps the recipient to contextualise your experience.
- Explain the value of your role – this is the most common mistake on a CV. So many CVs are lists of responsibilities and not a mention of tangible achievements in the jobs. It’s easy to say “this is what I was supposed to do” but what your new employer wants to see is what you actually achieved and how that could be of value to them. This is such a major opportunity to make yourself stand out that we’re going to commit a full blog post to explaining it further which will be with you later in the year – get in touch if you’d like to discuss more with us now.
- Use bullet points and lists, not long paragraphs – especially considering it’s a job in marketing that you are applying for. You need to make sure that your CV is clear and visually appealing. To do this we find that bulleted lists are much more effective than paragraphs. The exception to this in our industry could be for some PR / Comms people who may use some sections in their CV to demonstrate their strengths in writing.
- Don’t list every grade since your SATs – it’s great that you got a highly commended sticker for your work in primary school but there are more important things to get across to your prospective employer. Typically the quantity of GCSEs which can be listed as A*-C or the relevant parameters will suffice. At A-Level, degree and beyond then the subjects and grades are worth noting but the grades in each year and modules included generally aren’t necessary. Dependent on the recency and relevance of the achievement and the level of the role then this may vary.
- Shout about software and programs but only those that are relevant – if you are applying for a digital marketing job then it’s important to be clear on your experience using Google Adwords, Omniture, HTML, CheetahMail, etc. Equally as a marketing analyst it’s good to know whether you’ve used SAS, SPSS, Alterian or are a whizz on Excel. Whilst this information is useful there is little benefit to having a lifeguard certificate in a job as a Direct Mail Campaign Manager so think about relevance before taking up your precious CV space with this detail.
- Keep the format simple – whilst marketing is about making yourself stand out, most employers would still prefer to be able to quickly and easily see what you have to say on your CV. If you are using boxes, columns and fancy colours to stand out then this may detract from what will really stand out which is your experience. If the content and readability is right then that’s what is really going to land you that interview not your name flashing with a border around it.
- Copy check your CV – not just for spelling and grammar but for technical jargon and uncommon abbreviations too. Ask someone else to have a read over it and see if it makes sense to them. Whilst you might be a marketeer applying for a job in the marketing industry there is a chance your CV will get first viewed by someone in HR who may not have the same level of knowledge and as such you want them to buy in to you too.
There are so many more tips and bits of advice that we can provide but if you follow the above steps and send us your CV then we can always let you know of anything further we’d recommend for you personally.
If you’ve got any further tips that you’d like to share we’d really appreciate hearing them as I’m sure your fellow marketing job seekers would.