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3 key elements of a well written CV

Improvements you can make to your CV to increase your chance of interview
When putting together your CV, it is often difficult to know how to stand out, what to include or exclude and how best to format it. After reviewing thousands of CVs, we have included some tips to help you get closer to the job you want.
3 key elements of a well written CV
Improvements you can make to your CV to increase your chance of interview
When putting together your CV, it is often difficult to know how to stand out, what to include or exclude and how best to format it. After reviewing thousands of CVs, we have included some tips to help you get closer to the job you want.
3 key elements of a well written CV
With an abundance of online resources available on how to write the perfect CV, we believe there are 3 key points to bear in mind.
    1. Tailor
    While it may seem cumbersome, it is well worth the effort to take the time to tailor your CV for each job you are applying for. This will allow you to highlight the most relevant skills that the employer is looking for.
    2. Quantify
    When describing your current and previous roles, content should be achievement, not responsibility-based. Listing responsibilities without context, will not give the employer any sense of how well you performed in your tasks.
    3. Format
    The format of your CV is not the most important feature of a well written document. However, there are some tips to ensure that its content will be read with clarity and interest by your potential employer.
    1. Tailor
    The most important point to consider when writing your CV is to tailor it for the job you are applying for. Even if you are applying for more than one position at a time, doing so will have a significant impact on the likelihood of your CV matching the job requirements.

    Firstly, take the time to thoroughly read and understand the job description, from experience through to education, technical and other skills required. If you are applying through a recruitment agency, feel free to probe your contact for further information on the role in question.
    Should I include a cover letter?
    Candidates often ask if they should include a cover letter with their CV when applying for a job. If there is an option on the website to include a cover letter, we would recommended doing so, under certain conditions:

    • Keep it concise - hiring managers can receive hundreds of job applications per vacancy and may not have the time to read a lengthy letter; include just a couple of paragraphs
    • Make it targeted - if known, address the letter to the employer/hiring manager and target the letter for each application with specific information relating to the job or company
    • Be specific - too often, cover letters contain generic statements about work ethic and ability to work as part of a team; only include specific, factual and, where possible, quantifiable statements relating to the position in question
    2. Quantify
    A summary of your current and previous positions should not read like a job description. Rather, it should outline duties, relevant to the job you are applying for, with the inclusion of the result of such actions.

    For example, stating, "responsible for selling new cars" will tell the employer nothing about your sales ability. However, writing accomplishment-oriented points such as, "responsible for selling new cars and exceeding targets by 15% month on month in year 1", will be far more impactful.

    Focusing on your responsibilities, rather than your accomplishments, will not allow an employer or hiring manager understand what positive impacts you made on your company. It may demonstrate what you did, but not how what you did, had a positive impact on the bottom line.

    Use action words, such as, 'managed,' 'coordinated' or 'launched', followed by a metric to quantify results. You may be in a job that is not highly target-driven, where you feel you cannot quantify much of your work however, perhaps you implemented a new strategy which improved the speed of a customer application process. In this case you could say, "... reduced application time by 2 hours."

    Quantifying your role responsibilities will make you stand out from other applicants and will best highlight your skills and experience.
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    3. Format
    For your CV to stand out, it is not essential to have the most colourful and visually attractive document. However, there are some key things to consider before you present your CV.
    Formatting
    Length of CV
    A common question we get asked is, 'should my CV be 1 or 2 pages?' Ideally, your CV should be limited to 1 page, 2 pages if required but anymore than this may be off-putting for an employer involved in high volume recruitment.

    Fonts, alignment and spacing
    In terms of font, use a simple, universal font that will be easily readable across different computers, devices and software types. (e.g. Times new roman, Arial etc.). Be consistent in your use of font sizes (10 - 12 for body text) in addition to your use of bold, italics, underlines and bullets. Ensure you use concise bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs when describing your work history.

    Templates
    There are a multitude of visually impressive CV templates available online. However, a simple, clean look and feel will ensure that the content of your CV, rather than its design, is the focus.
    Structure
    Layout
    The layout of your CV should be in the following order:
    Personal information
    Name and contact details; phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile (optional)
    Work experience
    This is the first section of your CV that your hiring manager will likely read. List your current or most recent job first, including; title, company, dates of employment and a brief summary of the company, e.g:

    January 2017 - February 2020
    Sales Manager, ABC Corporation, Dublin
    ABC Corporation is a Dublin headquartered automotive business with €5M in revenue


    Use action words coupled with an accomplishment, e.g:"
    Created a lead generation strategy which led to an increase in customer retention of 20%"

    Education
    Include colleges/universities you've attended, e.g:

    Bachelor of Science, Marketing, CIT, 2012 - 2016
    - result, relevant coursework and awards
    Training
    List any additional training or courses, relevant to the position, you have completed
    Additional information
    Include technical and IT skills, languages and volunteering work
    Finally, proofread your CV several times and save it in pdf format before sending.
    Summary
    In summary, a professional and well-written CV will increase your chances of being invited to interviews, give you an advantage over the competition, shorten your job search and ultimately improve your job offer.
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