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CV Guide

First impressions count, especially when applying for jobs. Find out how to produce the perfect CV with our helpful resources. Our team of experienced recruiters have passed on their industry insights and useful tips to help make your CV stand out from the crowd!

Heat Recruitment - CV guide

How to Write a CV

There it is – the job opportunity you’ve been waiting for. The criteria reflect your experience; the responsibilities excite you and the benefits are just the cherry on top.


There’s just one problem: your CV hasn’t been updated in some time and needs a rewrite. If recruiters spend an average of just six seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether to read on, yours needs to hook them straight away.


But where to start? We’ve broken the process up into seven easy steps you can follow to create a winning professional resumé.

1. Pick a simple format


With the number of tools available online these days, it’s easy to get lost in the design of your CV before you’ve even considered the content. Primarily, the template you choose should be clean and free of clutter; it should direct the reader to the important information within. If you’re starting from scratch, add in the relevant headers as follows:


– Name and contact details
– Personal profile
– Work experience
– Education
– Skills
– Additional sections


As always, it’s what’s inside that counts so don’t spend too long mulling over header size or font. Stick to Arial or Calibri which are considered professional and best practice for uses in business communications.


2. Add your contact details


Starting your CV might seem like a daunting task, but if there’s one easy step you can tick off, it’s your contact details. Providing a professional email address is essential (avoiding Hotmail or any “funny” names) and adding a phone number will make it as easy as possible for a prospective employer to get in touch.


3. Start with experience


Leave your Personal Statement blank for the time being, as this can be formed from the experience and skills sections (see further down the page for more on this). Forming the bulk of your resumé, the work experience section should begin with your most recent role and work backwards. There’s no need to write the War & Peace of every job to date – simply start by detailing your key responsibilities before moving on to your proudest achievements and the most relevant skills developed in each role.

Heat Recruitment - CV template

4. List your academic achievements


This section is simple and straightforward; your academic qualifications along with the date you achieved them should sit neatly under your work experience. Unless specified in the job description, you don’t need to list grades for your GCSEs and A-Levels. If you have industry-specific certifications or are a member of any professional bodies, listing them here will signal to a hiring manager your commitment to learning and development.


5. Bullet-point your core skills


Let’s face it – attention spans are getting shorter. Highlighting your key competencies and specialist knowledge through several bullet points will help hiring managers to pick out the important stuff quickly. Soft skills are welcome too; they form a fundamental part of hiring decisions so don’t hesitate to list your excellent communication skills along with the job-specific expertise you bring to the table.

how to start your CV

6. Return to your personal statement


Having taken a trip down employment memory lane, identified your most valuable attributes and honed in on your core skills, you should be primed to put your best foot forward in your personal statement . To truly stand out from the competition, try to open with a hook that sells to the recruiter your ambitions, experience and unique value in a short and succinct opening paragraph.


7. Put your recruiter hat on


Having drafted up your CV, step out of the candidate mindset and into the shoes of a hiring manager or recruitment agency. Bearing in mind the requirements of the job you’re looking to land, have a final check through your resumé and ask yourself objectively whether your value comes across.

How To Write A Personal Statement For A CV


It’s the first thing a prospective employer will read when they open your CV – for that reason, it’s also the first thing many ambitious job hunters struggle with when making their application.


On the surface, the task of writing a summary of your value as an employee seems straightforward: it’s only a few lines, after all. Yet, considering the competition in the market and the fact that even one spelling or grammar mistake can cause your resumé to be discarded, there’s a lot resting on the profile section of your CV.


When it comes to writing your personal statement, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind. We’ve put together the following tips to ensure prospective employers take notice of your application.


Stick to a simple structure


A personal statement can be broken down into three key areas – who you are, what you want to do and why you’d be brilliant at it. Luckily, it’s easy to weave these three elements into just a sentence or two. For example, in the first sentence someone may introduce themselves as ‘a highly-specialised Corporate Solicitor looking for a new challenge in…’ before diving into their relevant skills in the second sentence.


Your personal statement should be succinct and to the point, summarising your value in no more than 200 words. Don’t try to include all of your skills and experience here – that’s better suited to a different section of your CV – but draw out the one or two most important points that are closely aligned with the job you’re applying for.


Be honest


Stretching the truth might seem like the easiest way to get noticed, but lying on your CV is definitely not something we’d advise. Honesty is always the best policy, even for those who have just started their professional career. If you feel there is little experience to draw on, highlight your key strengths and focus on your passion and potential – leave fabrications and fake news at the door.

CV Guide

Inject some personality


Your personal statement is just that: personal. If you’re to stand out from the crowd, you need to make it memorable and not come across as a robot. As much as core skills and experience matter, hiring managers also seek candidates who will bring something new to their workplace culture; they want people who aren’t just equipped with expertise but brimming with excitement and enthusiasm for the role. That said, don’t go overboard with the exclamation points, throw in jargon or attempt to be their friend – this is a professional application, not a social media profile.

What to include in a CV

Use keywords, not buzzwords


Fancy yourself as a guru, an innovator or a wizard in your job? In the world of recruitment, buzzwords signal fluff and lack of substance and will only help you to stand out for the wrong reasons. Instead, refer to the job advert to pick out a few role and industry-based keywords.


Using the appropriate keywords will ensure your resumé is selected as relevant by the recruiting software known as an Applicant Tracking System (ABS). This tool is designed to make a recruiter’s life easier by scanning a document for specific phrases the recruiter is looking for.


Don’t forget to proofread!


Finally, don’t forget to read over your personal statement several times. When you’re happy with it, ask a friend or family member to proofread it for you too. Your personal statement can be the most powerful tool in your job application, so it’s crucial that you make sure you don’t let a simple spelling mistake slip through the net.

Good Hobbies to Put On a CV


As with any career advice, there are always a few recommendations which prove to be controversial. Including hobbies and interests on your CV is certainly one of them. At school, you were probably told to include your hobbies and interests to show that you’re a team player who’s keen to expand their skill set.


However, several years later when you’re applying for a serious role, you may realise that the interviewer probably doesn’t want to know about your keen interest in football or cookery. In some cases, it’s worth including your hobbies on your CV, but it’s all about judging each situation separately.


What to include


If you were to ask a recruiter what hobbies to include on your CV, you’d most likely get the response: ‘anything that is relevant to the role’. But what does this actually mean? In some cases, it’s quite obvious. Let’s say you’re applying for a job at a charity. Would you give a shout out to the fundraisers you’ve organised for a local pet shelter, or the half-marathons you’ve run to raise money? Of course you would. Yet would you do the same if you were applying for a role as a DevOps Engineer? Perhaps not.


It’s often recommended that you include your involvement with any sports teams on your CV – but only if you’re playing or coaching the team, not just watching from the sidelines! If you feel confident about backing this up with how it’s taught you to work in a team and use your competitive streak to an advantage, then keep it on there. Any involvement with performing arts can also work well in your favour, particular in customer-facing roles like those in sales, where confidence is vital.


Creative hobbies and interests such as photography, video production and blogging can also impress the hiring manager. As the lines between different job roles continue to blur, having employees that can confidently use social media or the company’s online blog to share insights into their industry and day-to-day life at the company is really valuable. Plus, it’s a chance to show off your excellent communication skills which are essential for any role.


What to leave out


There tends to be a few popular hobbies and interests that crop up time and time again, such as reading, cooking, and socialising with friends. It’s best to avoid mentioning any of these on your job application, as it’s difficult to identify how it’s developed relevant skills that could transfer into the workplace. The same applies to more niche hobbies like scrapbooking or stamp collecting. As a general rule, if you can’t draw out skills mentioned on the job description and it’s totally unrelated to the role, leave it out.


You should steer clear of mentioning controversial hobbies or your involvement with any political campaign groups. And, if you can’t identify two or three relevant hobbies and interests to include, perhaps save your answers for the interview process rather than listing them on your CV. Be sure to prepare an answer though, as the interviewer may notice that you’ve not listed any on your application and ask you in person instead.

Heat Recruitment - what to include on your CV

CV Template

Creating the perfect CV is one of the hardest aspects of applying for a new job; knowing what to write, how to lay it out, which jobs to include and which to leave off. Not to mention how long it should be and whether you need to add in skills and achievements.


Our recruitment consultants see hundreds of CVs every week, and on a number of occasions have to step in to reformat and edit the original copy. On top of this we speak to hundreds of employers about jobs in every sector and at every level, so we have developed a good understanding of what they look for in a CV.


It is with all of this in mind that we have created our free CV template to help you create what we hope will be the killer CV that lands you that dream job!


Do you need help writing a CV to land you that dream job? Simply get in touch with our friendly team of consultants, and don’t forget to take a look at our job listings.