Sponsored by London Business School
Could your CV be doing more for you? Does it shout “hire me” to admissions and HR teams? Read on for seven insider tips to write a CV, from the admissions experts behind London Business School’s Masters in Management, Global Masters in Management and Masters in Financial Analysis.
1. Cover all bases
Make sure when writing a CV that it includes your contact details (full name, email, mobile, address), education, professional qualifications, referees, skills and work experience. Consider including a short statement at the top outlining your career aims and key selling points. Depending on your strengths, you may wish to order your paragraphs differently – starting with your skills, education or work experience.
2. Tailor your message
Many CVs and cover letters are too generic. To differentiate yours, tailor it to your reader and focus on what’s pertinent for this particular application.
Start with a blueprint CV – a full list of all your projects, skills and experiences – then pick and choose which elements to feature on your final version without omitting anything important.
Give thought to which achievements are really significant. Is the swimming competition you won as a child a vital piece of information? Might a three-month extra-curricular project prove more interesting?
3. Showcase both universal and specific skills
Always feature skills that are universally in demand: analytical and interpersonal skills, teamwork, leadership and creativity. Then, complement these with skills that are especially relevant for the role in question, including soft skills, hard knowledge, technical aptitude and commercial awareness.
4. Avoid unquantifiable claims and clichés
Back up each claim with concrete evidence and measurable achievements. It’s not enough to assert that you’re a leader or a good communicator. You need to reference specific projects and occasions when you’ve risen to challenges or taken risks. Give details of exactly how you contributed and what you achieved.
Don’t write: “I participated in a social media project.”
Do write: “I designed a social media campaign that helped increase our customer base by 8% over three months.”
5. Use assertive language
When writing a CV, grab your reader’s attention with buzzwords and action verbs that jump out from the page to highlight your input, initiatives and innovations. What did you increase, decrease, implement, produce, report, create, support or develop?
6. Be succinct
It’s usually a good idea to fit your CV on a single side of A4, or two pages at the most. Obviously this isn’t to say that you should try to squish huge chunks of texts by reducing font size or playing around with margins. Your CV should be readable and clearly laid out. But try to be selective when it comes to deciding on what information to include in your CV. Express ideas as succinctly as possible – your voice will emerge all the more audibly from concision.
7. Consider investing in grad school
Depending on what you’re looking to do – be it make up for discrepancies in your educational or professional background, gain new skills or change careers – enrolling part-time or online in a prestigious Masters in Management, Global Masters in Management or even a Masters in Financial Analysis could really help you kick-start or revitalize a lagging career.