So, you’re ready to write your CV.  You’ve thought about what to include and have all the basic information in one place.  You’ve considered a few layouts and selected one you like.  Chances are you’re working in Microsoft Word, or something fairly similar.  Oh, and you’re aiming for one or two sides of A4.  Great!  So, what’s stopping you?  You’ve got everything you need, right?

For most people, this is enough and they’ll create their CV.  Done.  However, if you still feel there must be something more, read on.

Basic information

At the start of your career, you may struggle to fill one page.  If this is how you feel, start keeping a diary of everything you do for a couple of weeks.  Then when you review your notes, consider what you actually did and if the behaviours you demonstrated would be valuable to an employer.  If they are, would it make sense to include these activities on your CV?

Structure

So you now have enough information to fill your CV, but every time you go to write it, you get stuck.  Let’s take a step back on focus on the structure.  What are the sections of your CV?  Personal summary, contact information, skills, work experience, education, extra-curricular activities etc?  Once you have these, place the information you’ve gathered into the sections you’ve created.  You may find that some information will appear in more than one section.  That’s fine, you can choose what to include in the different sections when you start writing.

Medium

Now you have several options and a decision to make.  What medium do you want to use?  Before you make your choice, consider the following.  Are there any document size limitations when submitting your CV?   What sector are you planning to apply to?  What type of company do you want to join (start-up, SME, corporate etc)?  How much information do you have to share?

Now, it’s time to consider the options.  There’s a traditional Word CV, visual CVs (do a search online), and online CVs (web page).   How to choose?  Well, think about the company you want to engage, the type of work you’re interested in, and what appeals to you personally.  If you’re planning to work in a professional environment like accounting or law, maybe a traditional CV would be appropriate, if you’re looking to work for a media company, maybe a visual or online CV would be better suited.

Layout

You now have your basic content, structure, and medium.   So, it’s time for the layout.  Have a look online, search for CV styles aligned to you as an individual and the type of work/organisation you want to join.  Based on what you find, choose a template and style that works for you.  Remember, you can change your mind if it’s not quite right.

Copy and reviews

Start writing.  If you’re new to this, start simply.  Populate the template you’ve chosen with your basic content.   It’s not about fancy words, it’s about honesty and sharing your story.  When were your most enjoyable moments and what were you doing?  What are you most proud of?  Are there any stories you love to tell?  The facts and achievements are important, the stories bring them to life.  Pick the key points in the story, how can you weave these into a sentence or two?  Add as much detail as you feel is required, don’t feel that you need to edit this down just yet.

Review your CV for style, how easy it is to read, what information your eyes are drawn to when first viewing it, and how clear your intended messages are.  Take a break.  Review and make amendments.  Ask someone you trust to review honestly and ensure you provide guidance on the elements you would like feedback on specifically.  Make amendments.  Final review.  Done.

Yeah, it’s a fair bit of work.  You want that job, right?  You’re going to work hard when you get it?  So, you’re ready to demonstrate your commitment through your application, aren’t you?  Time to get started!!