How To Write A Professional CV and Cover Letter
Writing a professional CV and cover letter is easy, with these professional résumé tips. Provided by ExecutiveONE and King of CV, they are leading professional CV writing services in New Zealand. You’ll learn about what to write about, achievements, tonality, ideas, templates, and more in this helpful guide.
Help writing a CV and résumé
Often people encounter writers block and they are unsure what content to include in their CV, or what to write about. Therefore before rushing to write your CV, it is a good idea to brainstorm a bit about yourself and the type of job or opportunity you’d like.
Start with a brainstorm of yourself. Make a list. What achievements, skills, ideas and experience do you have? If you’re having trouble with this, you can also download a skills analyser tool, which can commonly be found online. King of CV also talked about how to include skills in your CV. This is a free tool to help you make a list of the different skills you have
There is no surprise that it is challenging, because to write a 2 or 3 page document summarising your professional history, can infect be very challenging. So if you’re asking “How do I write a CV” there are plenty of good tips here.
You need to know a bit about yourself, and consider this list:
- Skills – These are things you specifically can do. For example, driving a car, flying a plane, using Xero, operating MYOB, using Microsoft Excel etc. You might know how to use a project management software, or a specific analysis tool.
- Achievements – When writing your CV, you’ll want to include achievements. What have you done, or what are some of your successes? You might have helped an employer save some money, or reduced the number of customer issues. You could have been instrumental in developing a new product, the list can go on.
- Know-how – These are a bit more intangible, and are often taken for granted. You might know how to get a team excited and motivated around a project. You can also think of know-how as competencies from time to time.
- Personal Traits – These could include you being humorous, ambitious, friendly, creative – anything that might define your personality
Download a professional CV template
A professional CV template will help you organise your skills effectively. CV templates are typically available in a .doc or .docx file (this can be opened in Microsoft Word) and then you would usually save it as a PDF. Some schools of thought recommend keeping your CV in Microsoft Word when submitting it, as it could make it easier for your CV to be processed by an applicant tracking system.
There are a range of CV templates that exist online. You’ll find that there are some traditional ones, and modern graphical ones. Although graphical ones can be exciting, including using bars, charts, icons, etc. they are typically not recommended for standard use. They are difficult to follow, process, and often focus more on the design of the CV than giving the person an ability to share and shine with their achievements.
Sticking to a more traditional system may work.
Here’s a list:
- Is the CV easy to follow and read? Consider that the words are easily visible, legible
- Does it allow me to input different sections about myself? This can include an introductory statement, a paragraph about yourself, achievements, skills, experience, career history, achievements, volunteer work, and more. You may also want to be able to include matters such as your personal interests, different languages you may speak, organisation’s you’ve volunteered at, and more.
- Is it in the right length? The typical expectation for CV’s in New Zealand and Australia is normally a 2-3 page document. One page CV’s are not the norm here, and neither are very lengthy CV’s.
Learn to manage gaps in your CV
Often times people will worry about different gaps in their CV. ExecutiveONE has an article which explains when writing a CV, how do you explain being redundant in your résumé? You may also want to be mindful of other gaps such as taking a gap year, or time off work. Normally you do not mention these in a CV. However you should be prepared to answer these types of questions if they are asked in an interview.
Fortunately, there is a useful link to interview questions found here, which will allow you to get an idea for what you might be asked if you’re able to make it to the interview stage.
What is the employer looking for?
Take a moment to also consider what the employer is looking for. You may want to think about what skills and traits they want from an ideal candidate. Spending a few moments to edit the CV before each job application to make it relevant and highlight your skill is helpful.
You can also consider downloading a worksheet, to help you understand what you are strong at, and what are your strengths. Then in another column you can write about what the employer wants. Match these up.
If you’re finding that you don’t have all the skills needed to match a particular job, it might be beneficial to get some general knowledge in those areas. That’s where our Auckland College online courses can help you gain more knowledge and intelligence in different areas.
Proofreading your CV
Getting the grammar and spelling right on your CV is important. After writing your CV, take the time to review it for grammar and spelling errors. You may even find it beneficial to read it aloud. You could also have a friend peer review it and ask them to tell you if they spot any errors. They may also be able to give you feedback on your CV.
There are also professional proofreading services that can assist. Often times paying for a professional is extremely worthwhile in getting that top notch result. You may also want to consider engaging a professional CV writing service like ExecutiveONE or King of CV.