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How to write a great CV

As the first opportunity to tell an employer what you can do, your CV is a vital part of your job search. The professional services sector specifically is a highly specialised and competitive sector and the following are a few tips on how to present yourself on paper:

  • Format – the majority of professional services firms now use extranets to accept and review applications.  A large part of our role at Leighton Taylor is to effectively manage these systems and processes.  In order to ensure accuracy, we recommend that CVs are produced in Word format as PDFs are not accepted.

 

  • Length – the recommended length of your CV will really vary depending on your level of seniority.  As an Executive or below, we advise a CV of no more than 2 pages, at Manager or above try not to exceed 4 pages.

 

  • Layout – this is a marketing document about yourself so as a marketer, it’s got to shine!
    • List everything in reverse chronological order.
    • Keep it concise and easy to read by using clear spacing and bullet points. This allows employers to skim your CV and quickly pick out the important information.
    • Always use a professional font, such as size-10 Arial.
    • Attention to detail is key with these types of firms, there should be no spelling or grammatical mistakes.

 

  • Integrity – never lie on your CV. Professional services firms now outsource much of the post offer checks so any in discrepancies will be discovered.  Omit anything that could be seen as controversial or isn’t relevant.

 

What to include:

  • Contact details – Include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address (we need all of this information in order to make your applications), however, please note that when your application is sent to each client, your contact details will be omitted so that all future correspondence is managed through us.  You do not need to include your date of birth or a photograph!

 

  • Profile – Placed at the beginning of the CV, a profile is a concise statement that highlights your key attributes. Pick out a few relevant achievements and skills, while clearly articulating your career aims within the Professional Services sector.  Keep it short and snappy.

 

  • Education – 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 and generally, you would include this towards the end of your CV (after your work experience), unless you are a graduate looking for your first job.

 

  • Work experience – List your experience in reverse chronological order, clearly bullet pointing your experience. If you have plenty of relevant work experience, this section should come before education.
    • Begin with the most important elements of your experience such as strategy, planning and budget/team 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 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.

 

  • Skills and achievements – This is where you can talk about the foreign languages you speak and the IT packages you can competently use. Whatever you list should not be over-exaggerated, as you’ll need to back up your claims at interview!

 

  • Interests – Simply writing ‘socialising, going to the cinema and reading’ isn’t going to catch the Hiring Manager’s attention. However, when relevant to the job, your interests can provide a more rounded picture of you and give you something to talk about at interview. Examples include writing your own blog.

 

Writing your CV is always a daunting task but if you follow these tips preparing your CV can be a hugely beneficial journey as it will remind you of specific skills, experience and examples that you had forgotten or take for granted.  It will illustrate why you are particularly suitable for a role and will provide you with the confidence and mind-set for success during your future interviews.


Written by Leightontaylor
12th March, 2018