There are numerous articles out there on writing the perfect CV – many of them offer valuable advice for sure, but some also tend to overcomplicate things.
Being in the Maritime Recruitment industry we would like to offer our advice on this: Whether you apply through a recruiter or directly to a company, your CV will likely initially be vetted by someone who does not necessarily know the ins and outs of your technical skills – and this is your first hurdle! If your CV is not clear and easy to read, you might not even make the first cut – even if you have the right experience for the vacancy.
Below is a guide to creating a straightforward and easy to read CV that could help get you a foot in the door to that dream job.
The first part of your CV, positioned at the top of the page, should contain your name, professional title and contact details. Never give your CV the title, ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’ as it is a waste of valuable space. Treat your name as the title instead. When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are essential. Once upon a time, it was customary to include your full address on your CV. Today, you simply need to list your town and county.
If you like, you can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile in this section but only if it is up to date!
Here is an example of how your name, professional title and contact details might look:
Forename Surname | Professional Title
Location: Town, County
Phone: 01234 567890
2. Personal profile
A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, career objective and professional profile, is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It is a short paragraph that sits just underneath your name and contact details giving prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you are all about.
Aim to keep your personal statement short and sweet, and no longer than a few sentences. To make the most of this section, you should try to address the following:
Who are you?
What can you offer the company?
What are your career goals?
3. Experience and employment history
Your employment history section gives you a chance to outline your previous jobs, internships and work experience.
List your experience in reverse chronological order as your recent role is the most relevant to the prospective employer.
When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarises the role. Then bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and bolster each point with powerful verbs and figures to support each claim and showcase your impact.
It helps to choose the duties most relevant to the job you are applying for, especially if it’s a long list. If you have many years’ worth of experience, you can reduce the detail of old or irrelevant roles. If you have positions from more than 10 years ago, you can delete them.
Here is an example of how to lay out each position of employment on your CV:
mmm yyyy – mmm yyyy
Company Name, Location
4. Education and qualifications
Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you were there, followed by the qualifications and grades you achieved.
If you have recently left education, you may write your degree, A-levels or GCSEs (or equivalents) like so: Institution name – Dates attended (from – to) Qualification/subject – Grade
If you have a degree, you could list a few of the most relevant modules, assignments or projects underneath. For professionals that are a little further along in their careers, or have many certificates in their repertoire, you can lay your qualifications out in this way: Qualification, grade – Institution – Year
5. Additional sections
There is a range of additional sections that may strengthen your CV and highlight your skills. Here are just a few you can include if you have room:
Key skills: If you are writing a functional CV or have some abilities you want to show off to the employer immediately, insert a key skills section underneath your personal profile. You should aim to detail four to five abilities at most.
Hobbies and interests: If you feel that your CV is lacking, you can boost your document by inserting a hobby and interests’ section at the end. This can help to show how well you fit into the company or the industry. For example, if you are applying for an environmental job, why not include that you have a big interest in climate change activism?
Filling out all sorts of information about yourself and your past works might sound like “bragging” to you but consider that you are the hiring manager, and you need to fill an open position quickly. You will realise that recruiting, hiring, and training can be expensive so you need to find the best fit as soon as possible. When you are reviewing resumes from applicants, what are you going to be looking for? You must realise that you are not bragging, focus on the needs of the employer while you are writing your resume. Achievements do not make you look arrogant. They reinforce the skills and experiences you have that employers are looking for.
Written by: Syaza Sophie Pinz