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TO OUR RESUME GUIDE
Whether you’re writing your first CV, or updating an old version, in this CV Guide you’ll find all the tips and advice you need to ensure your resume stands out.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll find inside: (Click to navigate)
It can be tempting to dive straight into writing your resume to kick off your job search.
But, if you want to create a tailored document which is going to deliver the results you're looking for, it's important you first take some time and think about what you really want in your next position.
So, before going any further, ask yourself these questions:
1. Why are you looking for a new role?
2. What salary and benefits package are you looking for?
3. Which role would be a sensible step towards your long-term career goals?
4. Which technical and soft skills are you looking to develop?
5. What kind of culture and work environment would you like to join?
6. What are your deal-breakers?
7. What are you prepared to be more flexible about?
PLANNING THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR RESUME
Now you’re ready to start creating your resume: one that both reflects you as a professional and the type of role you are suitable for.
First, plot out the structure of your resume in a Word document:
1. Name, address and contact details
List the phone number and the professional email address you use most often. You should also add links to professional online profiles, provided these are up to date and synced with the details on your resume.
2. Personal statement
Summarize your career story in a few sentences, highlighting why your skills are a good match and what you feel you can offer to the employer.
3. Employment history
Provide details of your work history, including any paid work, plus any relevant volunteer or work experience placements.
Give a list of your relevant achievements which clearly highlight your suitability for the roles you are applying for.
5. Skills summary
Add a brief bulleted list of your skills, focusing on those which are most relevant to the roles you are interested in.
6. Education and training
Keep this relevant and remember to include any training courses which relate to the jobs you are applying for.
Actual references are rarely included on CVs; it is usually fine to simply write ‘References are available on request’.
WRITING YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT
Your personal statement should be added directly underneath your contact details. Remember, this is the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will read on your resume, so you will need to impress.
Here’s how to ensure yours does:
1. Introduce yourself
Tell the reader who you are and what level of experience you have.
“I’m a hands-on Finance Manager with strong stakeholder engagement skills and a results-driven attitude.”
2. List your skills and experience
Outline your key skills and evidence the achievements which set you apart from the competition.
“With six years industry experience, I’m able to increase visibility within a business, drive efficiencies and implement cost saving measures that increase profits and provide a greater return on investment.”
3. Explain your ambitions for the future
Finish by outlining what you are looking to achieve next in your career, ensuring it links to the role in question. This will instantly indicate to the hiring manager that you should be shortlisted for an interview.
“I would now like to develop my skills in a global business environment, where I can progress my career within accountancy.”
Dos and don’ts to remember
DO include relevant action verbs to evidence achievements.
DO use keywords from the job description where relevant.
DO keep your personal statement to around 100-150 words.
DO tailor your personal statement to each role you apply for.
DON'T switch between the first and third person (e.g. I have excellent interpersonal skills/Vanessa has excellent interpersonal skills).
PLOTTING OUT YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
Now, it’s time to plot out your employment history, starting with your most recent role.
Format each job in the following order:
• Job title
• Dates of employment
• Key responsibilities and achievements
Avoid leaving career gaps
If you were unemployed for a period of time, explain how you made use of this time; whether it was job searching or travelling. Whatever your reasons, be as transparent as possible.
Within each entry of your employment history, focus on the value you added, not what your duties were. If any of your roles were temporary, say so.
Identify the keywords for the job vacancy you are applying for, and use these where relevant in your role descriptions
Provide more detail for those roles which are most relevant to that which you are applying for.
Once you have plotted this section out, you are ready to bring your experience and achievements to life with the language you use.
BRINGING YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS TO LIFE
As you write your employment history, make sure you use action verbs to communicate your successes and evidence your achievements.
Examples of action verbs:
Demonstrate your creativity:
Built, crafted, devised, implemented, pioneered, initiated, established
Rather than stating you have strong communication skills, use verbs like:
‘wrote’, ‘published’, ‘edited’ or ‘swayed’
As opposed to writing that you have good organizational skills, try:
‘facilitated’, ‘programmed’, ‘coordinated’, ‘allocated’ or ‘arranged’
And rather than writing that you always achieved your target goals, try:
‘reached’, ‘surpassed’ or ‘accomplished’
REPLACING ANY CLICHÉS
Action verbs may emphasise your skills, but clichés will dilute them. Below is a list of the most common clichés to avoid:
“Works well independently”
If working independently is a genuine strength of yours, then give an example of a time you showcased this strength and the results. For instance, try “I independently developed a new strategy that increased customer engagement by X percent.”
“A great team player”
Stand out from the competition by providing evidence that you can work well with colleagues to reach a common goal. For instance, “I worked with our international and local marketing teams to implement a global rebrand across 12 countries.”
Instead of simply stating you are results driven, you should support this claim with facts. Ensure that you give quantifiable evidence of your results, such as “I increased sales by 25 percent.”
“A hard worker”
Prove your productivity and time management skills by giving examples, for instance; creating a successful product launch in a short time frame or never missing a deadline in two years in your last role.
“Good communication skills”
Be more specific by giving examples of situations in which your communication skills have really shone through, such as a presentation or sales pitch you gave which won a new client for your business.
“A fast learner”
If you really want to demonstrate your aptitude, you need to put your money where your mouth is. Describe a time you grasped a new concept quickly.
SHOWCASING YOUR SKILLS
Next, it’s time to draft your skills summary - a bulleted list of your skills which relate to the role you are applying for. These skills can also be referenced in your personal statement and employment history sections of your resume and should include the keywords that you have picked out from the job description. Remember to include the below:
These are the skills which you have gained throughout your professional career, which are either required or desirable for this role, for instance:
• Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook)
These are your personal attributes that allow you to work well with others and achieve your goals. For example:
• Decision making
• Time management
• Conflict resolution
• Problem solving
• Stakeholder engagement
• Business acumen
If you are stuck, think about the transferable skills you may have learned in previous roles or whilst you were studying; for instance, you may have honed your writing skills at university. Also, think about when you have taken it upon yourself to upskill in any way - for example, you might have taught yourself how to use WordPress when writing your personal blog.
ENSURING YOUR RESUME IS ERROR-FREE
You have come this far and worked so hard to craft the perfect resume. Don’t undersell yourself by forgetting to proofread it properly! Here are the most common resume errors to look out for:
1. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
• Use the spell-checking software on your computer (ensure it is set to the correct language)
• Print off your resume and/or cover letter - you will find it easier to pick up on mistakes
• Read your resume aloud - again this will highlight any glaring errors to you
• Read your resume backwards – it might sound odd, but this is a proven way to pick up errors
• Ask a friend or relative to proofread the documents for you
• Make use of free online software such as Grammarly, Slick Write or Paper Rater to help you spot any grammatical errors
2. A lack of consistency
• Ensure you are consistent in your use of abbreviations and capitalizations
• Consistently use the same simple font and font size throughout your application – the same goes for bold and italicized copy
• Don’t switch from writing in the first person to the third person, and vice versa
• Similarly, ensure you maintain a professional tone throughout
3. Formatting issues
• Keep it simple – avoid the temptation to get carried away using backgrounds, borders or clipart
• If using Word, zoom out of the document to get a clearer view of formatting
• Print the documents out to quickly flag formatting errors – this way, you will soon see if something doesn’t look quite right
• If your resume is more than one page, ensure your page transitions are smooth, for instance, don’t start a sentence on one page which carries on to the next
• Once you are happy with the formatting, try converting the document into PDF, which should ensure the formatting stays as you intended it
• Check your resume reads well on desktop, mobile and tablet devices
REGISTER YOUR RESUME WITH MANPOWER
Once you think your CV is job application ready, register an account on our website!
Upload your now completed resume to your Manpower profile.
Online registration takes under a minute. Once you have registered your resume, one of our expert recruiters will be in contact with the latest opportunities within your area of expertise and preferred locations.
Please enter your details below.
This helps us understand who’s interested in our content, and if you tick the box to allow us to contact you, we will share further content and tips to help develop your career!