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How to make your work history shine when writing a CV 

We’ve all been guilty of making this huge mistake when writing our CV, and that mistake is to simply list all of our previous work experience including the tasks and responsibilities. In such a competitive job market you have to be ahead of the game, and a list is just not going to be enough to get you that interview.

Here’s our quick guide on what you can include on your CV when creating the ‘work history’ section…

Highlight the relevant roles

Listing all the tasks and responsibilities for a job you did 10 years ago that has no bearing on the new role you’re applying for, is using up important space. Like most people you are probably going to only use/need 2 pages for your CV, so it’s incredibly important to only write relevant information to the employer. At the end of the day, why would they want to read anything else??!!?

Instead, make use of the relevant roles, tasks and responsibilities that you know the employer will want to read and that showcase you in the very best light. The whole concept of the CV is to present yourself as the ideal employer for their company; someone who is skilled, experienced and qualified to do the job. Wasting time on writing about past roles that have no bearing on this is just a waste of yours and their time.

Use stats, results, and figures 

More often than not the hiring manager will know what was required of you when they read through your past job titles – we all know what an account does, and we all know what a car salesman does. A job description does assist the reader, however what they are really looking for is some actual evidence of how well you performed in those roles.

Ask yourself this – how is the hiring manager able to grasp the level of your performance from simply reading your CV?

In order to make this easy for them you need to consider adding the actual results, stats, figures and so on, from your past roles. A great example of this would be if you are applying for a new sales role, and you want to show the new employer how good of a salesman you are. Simple – provide them with the amount of sales you achieved, the turnover, the units, the timescales, the accolades you won as best salesmen for three months running, etc.

Be careful not to provide too much information, and remember to always keep everything concise and to the point. This is why it’s so important to remove irrelevant information from your other roles so you have more space to focus and highlight the best parts.

Use scenarios in your CV

Using scenarios is also a great way to show how well you performed, and this can sometimes have more of an impact (role depending) than presenting sales figures. If you were applying for a customer service based role for example, the employer is obviously going to want to see a CV that oozes great customer service, fantastic communication, problem solving, and handling of complaints to list just a few. Most people make the big mistake when writing a CV of using generic words to actually state that they have ‘great communication’ and ‘amazing world class communication skills’ – but how does the employer know this to be true.

Sure, the interview stage is where they can actually see if this is the case, but they need to be convinced in the first place that this could possibly be true. How you do this is to provide them with scenarios where you excelled in a past role. A good example would be a scenario in which you were faced with an angry customer and how you dealt with that situation, resulting in a happy customer.

Promotions are always another great way to make the hiring manager take note, as they can see that you must have performed well in your role if you gained one or two promotions during your time working there. Try to avoid listing these as two separate roles and instead combine them making sure you highlight the promotions and more importantly, why you were given them.

You should also read:

  1. How to write a CV that makes a great first impression
  2. Why you should tailor your CV to each job 
  3. The best way to explain a gap in your CV

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