CV writing can be daunting for anyone, whether you’re first putting one together or updating yours after a few years with an employer. Hiring managers and HR departments have to sift their way through hundreds of them, so how do you make yours stand out?
Success Appointments (or Success as they’re better known) have been navigating the world of recruitment since the retail boom of the 80s and their wealth of industry experience has helped top talent succeed in roles in everything from buying and merchandising to design, technical and production, to sales, marketing and digital.
In short? They know a good CV when they see one. With that in mind, we asked the Success team for their advice on how to write a winning CV. Follow these simple rules and your dream job is one step closer.
Putting aside the obvious name, address and contact details (don’t forget these!) it’s always nice to see an opening statement on a CV to set the scene. This only needs to be a short paragraph with a couple of lines to introduce yourself and draw your prospective employer in further to your CV. Include your job title, length of experience, examples of industry background and outline what you are looking for in your next opportunity. Remember to tailor this to the role you are applying for.
Your introduction should flow neatly into a quick round up of your key skills – are you a whizz on Microsoft packages or do you have Adobe Suite experience? Again, look to the role you are applying for and if there are key requirements and you have them aplenty – shout about them! Softer skills such as line management and timekeeping can also sit here. Keep it short and sweet.
Now we come to your core experience. Remember to include your job title, dates of employment and employer. If you work for a niche business that the reader may not have heard of then state what that business is – luxury bridal brand, online gaming business, etc.
Be wary of making your experience one long list – we don’t need to read your job spec! Highlight 6-8 key bullet points that really give a true insight into your responsibilities both day-to-day and, if necessary, at a higher strategic level. Your new employer wants to see the impact you will have on their business and where you will add value.
Following this always try to include 3-4 key achievements within each role. Perhaps you increased Instagram followers by 20% in your first six months or implemented a new process that resulted in higher sales revenue or hired a new team member that you are training.
Where to include your education can be a tricky one – degrees and qualifications are hard won and something to be shouted about. As a general rule, if you have a good chunk of work experience then your education can come lower down on your CV. If your degree or qualifications make up the bulk of your experience and are super relevant to the field you are breaking into then include them after your key skills. Don’t forget any training courses and shorter qualifications are very welcome here.
We’re sure you’re more than your 9-5 experience, so use the last section of your CV to talk about any outside-of-work activities that are important to you. Some employers like to see achievement in here too – maybe you ran a marathon or raised money for charity.
At this point, it’s always worth looking at your prospective employer’s key values here as this will show how in-tune you are with them as a business. If you aren’t the sporty type, talk about how you spend your downtime – cultural fit is super important to most businesses so say if you love going to festivals or curling up with a good book. Keep it snappy but keep it interesting! Perhaps best to leave out how you live for the weekend and Friday night drinks at this stage…
Now you have all the content in place, think about layout. Now’s not the time to start messing about with fonts and sizing. Forget about Comic Sans – using a simple, clear font and white background is more professional. There are some beautiful templates out there that’ll help your CV stand out. If you are going for a more creative role, then feel free to use your personal style but remember it is all a matter of taste so keep it simple! Also – spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. And then spellcheck again.
BONUS TIP – with your CV up to scratch you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle with a poorly written introduction email. Do your research and make sure you are applying to the right person for the right role and at the right time.
Fancy working in the fashion industry? Check out Success’s jobs to find your next step on the career ladder. They’ve got loads more tips and advice available on their blog or hit them up on LinkedIn and Twitter.