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How to write a CV for your sector
Your CV forms the core of every job application you submit. Writing a CV when looking for a new role can be a challenge for even the most experienced professionals. There is so much debate around what is and isn’t important on a CV that it’s no wonder people often struggle to find the right combination of key skills, qualifications and experience to include on their resume.
There are many similarities between CVs for different sectors and our consultants all agree on the key how-to tips when it comes to writing a typical CV.
- Tailor your CV – each role is unique your CV should reflect that.
- Don’t include a photo - unless the job description requests a photo, your headshot should not be on your CV.
- Spell check and proofread – double-check your CV. Error-free applications are crucial.
- Highlight what’s most important – structure your CV so that the most relevant details are listed first.
However, when it comes to building a standout CV specifically for your sector, what should you focus on and what structure should be followed? How detailed or specific should you be when highlighting an achievement or past experience?
Our consultants are experts in their sectors, they liaise with both employers and professionals on a daily basis and are best placed to advise you on what should be included in a CV to really stand out - here are their top tips for writing a winning CV for your sector.
When writing a CV for a position in the digital sector, a strong focus should be placed on your achievements. In digital, everything you do can be tracked and measured, therefore when highlighting an achievement on your CV it is crucial to include stats and figures to prove them.
For example; the UX changes I made to the website’s checkout page reduced the number of clicks in total from eight to seven which drove up the conversion rate by 12%. This generated an additional £50,000 revenue in the following three months.
When it comes to layout and structure, for a technical role clear and simple is always preferred but a slightly more creative CV for a design role might be more appropriate, accompanied by a well-thought portfolio. Divide your portfolio into categories such as brand designs, email designs and 3D designs etc. to compliment your CV.
In marketing, our consultants advise professionals to focus on their key responsibilities and achievements on their CV. Your work experience should follow a short personal profile at the top of your CV.
In the achievement section, be sure you use specific examples. Your achievements listed can be directly linked to different aspects of past or current roles such as campaigns etc. but also if you implemented a new toolkit or website or helped develop a team member.
Errors are especially difficult to ignore when recruiting for marketing roles, as communication is such a critical aspect of marketing. Marketing professionals should be able to market themselves better than any other candidate due to the very nature of their roles.
In finance, qualifications are essential, which is why a well-thought yet concise objective summary should be used to highlight the key qualifications and experience you possess at the top of your CV.
In the experience or work section of your CV, include a brief company description to give insight into the business exposure you have had. A top level overview of the roles you have had in chronological order should be included to provide an insight into the size and types of businesses you have previously worked for. Include information such as where in the UK the office is located, the number of people in the organisation and business turnover. When describing your skills or personal achievements in past roles, be sure you back it up with stats and figures.
Many finance roles require a level of interaction with operational functions in a business, the ability to effectively communicate your role and any key information is essential. Using too much technical jargon in your CV may actually demonstrate you lack the ability to translate what you do into plain English.
When writing a CV for a technology-based role, it is important to focus on the impact you had on an organisation and quantify how your influence helped the company. For example, if you saved them money - how much?
Unlike some sectors, technical jargon is very important on an IT CV, as it helps demonstrate your technical skills. Of course, make sure it is clear and easy to understand.
Keep the structure simple, drawing attention to your achievements and use examples to highlight your key strengths and prove the value you contributed.
For a logistics CV, it’s important to highlight the scale of operations you have worked with previously. Include details such as the number of people you have managed (drivers and/or warehouse operatives) the number of trailers, size of the site, number of pallet locations in the warehouse, number of SKUs, number of deliveries per day and the size of the budget you worked with or managed.
Your achievements in terms of efficiency savings and improvements should be quantified wherever possible e.g. I increased employee engagement by 12% through a new communication programme which led to a 16% reduction in staff turnover.
It is also important to provide details on your knowledge of specific logistics IT systems (e.g. Red Prairie WMS, Paragon, and GTS).
There are sales roles in almost every industry sector. Because of this, there are often slightly different key focuses for different roles. In general, education and sales achievements are particularly important and CVs should be structured with education at the top including any A-levels and GCSEs.
Sales CVs need sales figures. What were your targets? What did you achieve and what are your key wins? Opt for quantitative over qualitative achievements: achieved 150% of sales target in 2016 (target was £1m, achieved £1.5m).
It is also important to highlight what you have sold and who you have sold to. Include specific commercial information in your work experience sections and include your key wins and what you have achieved against your targets.
In retail, our consultants recommend structuring your CV with key achievements listed before past roles. Include around six key achievements backed up with tangible examples followed by a list of tasks that were undertaken.
An ideal CV would highlight your current role, the experience you have and what you have achieved, and details about the business to showcase the kind of exposure you have had.
For a retail role in design, the most important aspect of an application is your portfolio. While a more technical or commercial role would benefit from a simpler CV, a CV for a design role is best suited to a more creative layout. To really stand out, design your CV and portfolio as a package. Your portfolio should include images of previous works and designs to showcase your abilities and your CV should complement this.
When writing a CV for an HR position, there is an increasing need for candidates to showcase the fact that they truly understand business needs. If a course of action or a project you undertook made savings, increased staff retention or motivation, then make the results tangible. For example: achieved a 40% cost saving and staff retention hit highest percentages in last 10 years as a result of the campaign. Use industry-specific jargon in context as it can add significant value to an HR CV.
For more specific advice or guidance on how to construct the perfect CV for your ideal job, get in touch with our team of specialist consultants today.