After years of experience in recruitment, I understand the significance of mastering the art of crafting a compelling CV. However, the journey of making this essential document can appear rather formidable, often accompanied by a sense of unease and doubt.
Throughout my career, I've come across countless individuals struggling with the intricacies of CV writing, and in response, I've developed a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to assist those in need.
I begin by offering general advice on formatting, ensuring that your CV presents itself in the most favourable light. I then give you a thorough breakdown of each segment, including:
Furthermore, I delve into additional sections that you might consider incorporating to enhance your CV's impact. Lastly, I provide valuable resources to aid you in designing a professional layout.
It's important to note that in Australia, the distinction between a CV and a resume isn't always clear-cut, and the terms are often used interchangeably throughout this guide.
Katarzyna Furman outlines some tips on how to format a CV. She recommends that you:
It is best to tailor your CV to each job you apply for and use keywords that are featured in the job ad that you are applying to. However, at the very least, you should include keywords that are relevant to your specific job titles and industries of interest.
If you need even more CV writing tips, check out of free e-book outlining our top CV improvements.
Section 1 - introduction
The first section of your CV should be your introduction. Make sure you include your:
If your location is close to the job you are applying for, it's a big green flag for recruiters. If you are not located nearby but are planning to relocate or are seeking an immigration sponsorship, include this information on the same line. The topic of location is further explored by Novoresume.
Including a professional profile statement at the beginning of your CV is also beneficial. Think of it as a mini cover letter that provides the reader with context and humanises your application.
In your profile statement, you should:
Furman states that you should “focus on what you do have and tell the recruiter what you want to accomplish together. Align it with the company’s objectives.”
Section 2 - employment history
List your employment history in reverse chronological order (starting with your most recent job). For each job, start by listing the:
You also need to include your:
When describing your responsibilities, include quantitative examples to illustrate your success. As stated by Novoresume, recruiters are already familiar with the basic duties of most jobs, so you should focus on:
Add key achievements in bullet points below your responsibilities. Again, make sure you include quantitative examples.
Only go back 10-15 years with a detailed employment history. Anything beyond that can either be left off or can be listed with only the company name, job title, and dates of employment listed.
Section 3 - education
Similar to your employment history, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include any degrees, certifications, or licences you have attained, listing the:
As stated by Farman, there are two important considerations regarding this section of your CV:
If your relevant employment history is limited, your education should be listed directly under your introduction. This will help you make a good first impression on the recruiter, as it will direct their attention to your strengths.
You may also wish to include digital scans of your qualifications at the back of your CV. This will help to establish your credibility by providing tangible evidence.
Section 4 - skills
The next section in your CV should highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. A skill may fit into one of the following categories:
Showcase your skills clearly and concisely a highlight your suitability for the job you are applying for by addressing the criteria in the job ad.
If you're having difficulty identifying your skills, click the button below to read our guide.
Including some additional sections in your CV can help the recruiter to:
Ultimately, this can be what gives you the edge over another candidate.
Farman suggests including some of the following sections (if they are relevant to you):
At 11 Recruitment, we produce all our CVs using Canva.
Canva has a wide range of free and premium templates to choose from when designing your CV. You simply need to:
You can also upload and include custom images and graphics.
Our preferred CV format is a two-column layout that includes your contact information, education, and skills in a narrow column on the left. This will help the recruiter to navigate your CV while minimising the number of pages.
You can add more colour and designs for a more creative role such as marketing, and less colour and more information for roles in traditional industries such as legal, banking, etc. However, if the company has fun and creative values then it may be good to capture that in your CV to show you align with the values of the company.
When you are done, save and download your CV as a PDF file. This will ensure that your formatting and layout remain the same when you send it to potential employers.
How to write great cover letters
All good CVs are accompanied by a cover letter that is tailored to the specific role you are applying for.
Click the button below to access our free ebook on how to write great cover letters.
Are you looking for a job?
Now that you better understand how to write a CV, you should take a moment to check our current vacancies page.
At 11 Recruitment, we have a range of white-collar temp and perm jobs available. We're always on the lookout for top talent to place with our clients, so we encourage you to apply for any positions that are of interest.
If none of our current vacancies are right for you, you should register for job alerts. Then we’ll be able to notify you when we receive a position that matches your profile.
What are your thoughts?
I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions 🙂
Managing Director of 11 Recruitment