How to put together a CV
At Inspired Selection, we have overseen recruitment in the publishing industry long enough to know what makes a candidate stand out! If you have been unsuccessful a few times in a row, assess how you’re selling yourself and have a think about reworking your CV - a CV should be rich in content championing your work and skills. The aim is to leave an impression on the employer with the hope of being invited in for an interview! Here are our tips after 20+ years of working closely with candidates and clients in publishing about how to put together a CV - we will walk you through the anatomy of a CV which consists of the following:
- Contact details
- Brief personal summary
- Skills and Achievements
The most common mistake candidates make in their CV is it’s either robotic or untailored. Your CV is a map - a timeline of your career to date, so keep it simple yet concise. If your CV is longer than two pages, reassess what roles are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Your CV should be an honest, authentic and engaging account of who you are and of your key achievements!
Starting with the Personal summary section, you should consider expressing your 'work-self' in a few sentences. Many candidates write generic terms such as “I have strong communication skills” but does that reveal anything about your personality that might help employers understand your ambitions and strengths? Remember to be as original as possible because employers review hundreds of CVs in a competitive market such as publishing!
For your professional experience, all time should be accounted in a reverse chronological form. This keeps your most relevant and recent roles at the start of your CV and maintains a clear reading flow for the employer. Bullet points often work best to convey each of your responsibilities per role. See below:
Marketing Assistant 2016 - 2018
- Created digital marketing assets: social media content, email marketing, internal and external newsletters
- Worked closely with sales on sales promotions for customers and subscribers
- Handled general queries
- Co-ordinated events such as book launches and signings
The above example begins each description with an action word instead of the personal pronoun “I”. If you’ve had a variety of internships in an industry, consider sectioning it into:
- Professional Work Experience
- Volunteering Experience
- Positions of Responsibility
Education and achievements
As with professional experience, start with the most recent qualifications first. If you have recently graduated, you’ll want to put your education ahead of your experience, but from your first role onwards you’ll want to list your experience first. We also recommend mentioning professional qualifications as well as relevant training courses.
Skills and Achievements
Use this section to state any languages you speak and at which level, along with IT skills. We don’t recommend rating IT skills with icons to showcase your proficiency. Stating it in words is much more effective e.g., basic, intermediate or advanced. If you are limited, consider taking self-teaching courses on photoshop and CMS programmes as this will demonstrate you being pro active and taking initiative!
You might also want to mention some key achievements from your experience or education – you can also list these where you’ve listed the job / qualification.
It is always good to add a couple of your own interests to show your interests outside of the vacancy. These can make for great talking points at interview!
Keep in mind of the following:
- Keep the formatting clear. Place your name in bold at the top, accompanied by your contact details. Try and highlight each section clearly also by underlining the subtitle (Experience; Education etc.)
- Consistency is key particularly if you are using a heavily formatted approach. Your CV should be easy to read and shouldn’t include too many busy layouts. It is often better to use more monochrome colours such as black, navy or grayscale in your CV as opposed to bold colours and bright pictures, even photos, which may detract from the content of your application.
- Try and have two versions of your CV: in Microsoft Word as well as PDF; this may come in handy when it comes to uploading your CV to application portals where on upload the formatting might be lost, so a PDF CV avoids this.
- It’s really important that you spell-check as employers see this as a lack of attention to detail and some of them can be quite unforgiving. Grammarly is a great tool to help you with typos and grammatical mistakes. You could also send your CV to friends for feedback, or ask others what they see as your strength and skills.
- There is no need to add a photograph for the purpose of keeping the recruitment process free from discrimination and unconscious bias.
You can now put this guide to the test and re-create your CV. You’ll be armed and ready to send it out with more confidence. With a compelling CV in hand, do send it over to us and we can see how we can help!