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How to write a winning CV

How to write a winning CV

First impressions are everything - especially when applying for your next job. The information you provide on your CV is most likely the first thing that your prospective employer will learn about you. So, how do you get it right?

I've been working in recruitment for over 7 years, specifically in European contract IT recruitment across Europe within the SAP, Business Intelligence and Big Data markets. 

Whether you're working with a recruiter or applying directly to a company, a winning CV increases your chances of securing an interview. It's one of the first steps to getting your foot in the door and in the contract market, speed is everything, so I always recommend having an up to date CV to hand. 

Are you thinking about your next role? Check out some of my tips for writing a winning CV!

Step 1 - Tailor to your audience

When drafting your CV, it's important to keep your target audience in mind. Remember, what you put on your CV will likely be the first thing your reader learns about you. 

In my experience in the SAP, BI and Big Data markets, a CV is most often reviewed by a recruiter before any prospective employer has a chance to look at it. Be sure to highlight any transferrable skills and experience relevant to the role that you're applying for. 

Step 2 - Simplicity is key

As a recruiter, I am often juggling multiple roles which involves reviewing a number of CVs at any one time. A simple CV that clearly outlines the candidates experience and transferrable skills is easy to read and grabs the attention of the reader. 

Step 3 - Structure

For me, less is more. Make sure to include key information relevant to the role you're applying for in line with the following headings:

Summary

Include a few lines explaining more about your professional experience and skills. Highlight why you would be a good fit for the role by providing the reader with a bit more insight into who you are and therefore why they should hire you!

Work experience and projects

Starting with your most recent experience first, include a brief description followed by the key responsibilities involved in each of your roles. 

Education, training and certificates

Ensure that you include your highest level of education, languages and any training modules or certificates that you have obtained that are relevant to the role you're applying for. 

References

You don't often have to include them at this stage; however, I suggest that if you have recommendations on LinkedIn, it's worthwhile including them. 

Interests and hobbies

Use this space to share a bit more detail about who you are and what you enjoy doing outside of the workplace. This can help the reader understand how you would fit into the organisation from a cultural perspective. 

Finally, when you're done drafting, re-read your CV. Is it easy to read? Did you include the points mentioned above? If you're working with a recruiter, have them read through it and ask them for their advice!

Now that you've written your winning CV, send it on! Good luck!

About the Author

Thomas Sayer is a Sales Manager at Marlin Green and has over 7 years' experience in the European IT contract market. 

"Recruitment is a passion of mine and I was lucky enough to find my feet in my first job after University. I've probably seen over 50,000 CVs so far, interviewed thousands of candidates, advised clients on their hiring processes. If you're a contractor working in the SAP, BI or Big Data space - get in touch to discuss your potential next role!"

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