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At the beginning of a job search, your CV is your most important document. It allows you to provide a prospective employer with the basic information on which they form their first opinion. It is important therefore that you have given yourself the best opportunity to progress to the next stage of the application process which is invariably an interview.
The professional services sector is a highly specialised and competitive sector and the following are a few tips on how to present yourself on paper:
Include your full name, residential address, contact telephone number (for both the evening and daytime) and a secure email address.
Please note that when you register with Leighton Taylor, your contact details will be removed from your CV before it is sent to a client and all contact will be diverted via us.
This is often the part of the CV that employers will look at first, so it has to stand out and sell you. Focus on both your responsibilities and achievements and include where you can, specific campaigns where you might have influenced or increased revenue particularly in business development or sales roles. Don't be shy about what you have done but likewise don't exaggerate as you will need to be able to back it up in the interview with detailed information. Other points to remember:
- Put as much information as you feel is necessary but break it up into bullet points so it is easier to read.
- Begin with the most important elements such as strategy, planning, campaign and man-management. Work your way down to broader responsibilities.
- Highlight anything you feel could distinguish you from other candidates. For example if you are a business development specialist, point out proven bid management, specific database experience or key account responsibilities.
Repeat this process for your different roles and make a judgement on the detail you need to go into. It is likely that your most recent roles will be the most relevant to your application. If you are a senior candidate you will not need to go into detail about your first marketing assistant role but make sure it is in your CV so there are no gaps.
Qualifications & Training
Professional services firms are extremely academic environments so prospective employers will be very interested in seeing a good education and training. It is important to list these with the most recent first. For example:
- Any post-graduate qualifications including MBA's, CIM qualifications.
- 1st Degree including, grade, dates and where you studied.
- School education including A'Levels and O'Levels/GCSE's. You only need to list the number of passed qualifications, although if you have outstanding grades at A'Level and/or are a more junior candidate, you may want to note the grades.
There is no set rule as to where in your CV you place your qualifications but if you are a senior candidate you may prefer to put them in after your work history. If you are more junior and recently graduated (with good grades) you should place them towards to the start of the document.
These are important to include as an employer wants to get an idea of the sort of person you are outside of work as well. Personality is very important as you want to come across as a well rounded individual.
This can include any awards or achievements at work or outside of work if you consider it relevant to your application.
This is also the part of the CV where you should list your IT skills and courses that you may be undertaking.
Things to avoid when writing a CV
- Fancy Fonts. Use Arial or another commonly used font that is easy to read.
- Don't try and use the entire page and make sure there is plenty of space and everything is easy to read.
- If you are a senior candidate do not feel that you have to limit your CV to 2 pages. Professional services firms like detail so as long as you are not rambling, 3 or 4 pages is fine.
- Spelling and grammatical mistakes. Attention to detail is key with these types of firms.
- Long sentences that don't reach their point quickly.
- Omit anything that could be seen as controversial.
- Irrelevant personal information. Things such as children's names and ages are not really relevant to your application.