Tips on writing a CV
It’s very difficult to write about yourself in a flattering light but this is one time in your life when it doesn’t pay to be shy. Here are some tips on creating a CV
We advise every candidate to research the company and keep reading the specification of the job carefully to ensure that they tailor their application to the requirements.
Address, contact number, email
Qualification: AAT / CIMA / ACCA / ACA
A critical aspect of creating a CV that has a dynamic impact is writing a personal profile or statement that will enable the recruiter to quickly identify the strategic value you can add to their organisation. As a general rule, it's best to break the statement into two sections, writing in the 1st person, but avoid over use of ‘I’.
Who you are & what you bring to the table:
Highlight those aspects of your experience most relevant to your target role, repetition with examples increases emphasis, so check the body of the CV to make sure you have regular examples under the duties and responsibilities and achievements sections. Think about what will differentiate you from others in your field, stay away from clichés unless you want to sound like everyone else. Before you begin research “Elevator pitch” on the Internet to get some ideas, and use the same principles.
Start with the most recent job first
Date from – To: Company name, Location – Job Title
Context: Provide the reader with information to put your job title and duties into context, such as what the company does, most recent turnover figures, where you fit in the team/department structure, number of staff in accounts, who you report to and how many report to you. Also list Software packages used.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Bear in mind every company does things slightly differently so use this opportunity to showcase your written skills and take the reader on a journey of your work, what you do and how you do it.
- Break down your duties into daily, weekly and monthly tasks.
- Highlight key areas that you are responsible for, and start with the most technical /challenging parts of your role, the order in which you list your D&Rs gives the reader the impression of importance, or where most of your time is spent.
- Always use bullet points, as paragraphs take longer to read.
- Remember the reader is making judgements about your communication skills by assessing how well you describe your D&Rs, especially non-technical colleagues.
- If you have had promotions then treat each one as a separate job but under the heading of the company, put the dates you were with the employer next to the company name to show continuity and then the dates for each position next to the job title.
- Provide details on jobs covering up to roughly the last 10 years.
- If you attended a lot of meetings, identify the frequency of the meeting, the planning you had to do prior to the meeting, who else was in the meeting and then use examples to highlight your input to the meeting, presentation skills, debating, challenging, persuading etc.
Employers want to see evidence where you have excelled in your career so this section gives you the opportunity to highlight why you were promoted, what improvements you identified, designed and implemented. How you improved the efficiency of your work, improved things for colleagues, the department, the company, always show the end result / benefit to the company. Example: Within the first year of employment I improved controls and prepared a monthly audit file which reduced the time the external accountants spent on site in turn reducing spend on external fees by 25%. End with your reason for leaving, keep it short and factual.
Dates: Institution – Qualification (grade)
Put the most recent qualifications at the top, earliest schooling at the bottom. Include the dates, institutes, course name and grades from degree onwards.
Identify if professional qualifications were achieve by sponsorship (an employer was prepared to invest in you) or home study (shows personal drive and ambition). If your earliest schooling was over 20 years ago don’t worry about grades for GCSEs or O’ levels etc. If you have recently left school include all grades. Mention other school achievements i.e. captain of hockey, head boy, school prefect etc.
Interests are often underrated by candidates as a selling point of the CV, they can be used by interviewers as icebreakers, but mostly they offer an insight into your personality outside of work, consider applying the following filters.
- Are the activities relevant to the job? If the link is obvious, mention it in a covering letter. List things that an employer wants to see. Perhaps you enjoy arts and crafts that require patience and concentration, or team sports and activities that involve teamwork and people.
- Can you talk about what you have put on your CV with real enthusiasm? Interviewers listen to the energy of what you say as much as the content. Showing you are motivated/passionate about your interest demonstrates how you will buy into a role that you really want.
- If you went hand gliding once, twenty years ago, don’t include it to make yourself look adventurous, unless you keep up to date with the sport/interest you could lose credibility at interview if you cannot talk knowledgeably about your interests, you never know what the interviewers interest are.
- Limit your list of interests so that it doesn’t look like there is no room for work in your life.
- Check your grammar and spelling.
- Get several other people to proof read it for you, especially those who know little about accounts to eliminate jargon.
- Remove acronyms.
- Check your grammar and spelling again.