Top tips for writing your CV

It’s almost certain that when you apply for a job in the UK housebuilding industry, you’ll be asked for a CV, and it will play a crucial part in making you the best candidate for the role you want.

A really good CV (or curriculum vitae, to give it its full name in Latin) is an absolute must in the application process, so it is certainly worth taking the time to write it to the highest standard to give yourself the best chance of getting that job.

Here are a few tips to achieve the very best CV you can:

The basics

The most important thing you need to do is also the most simple in principle – make sure that your spelling and grammar are perfect. Check it on the word processor you’re using (ensure it’s set to ‘UK English’ rather than a US version) and get a friend or family member (or more than one) to assess it, too.

Don’t choose crazy fonts and colours, just keep it simple, neat and consistent from start to end.

Make sure you spell the name of the person you’re sending it to correctly, and apply the standards of the above paragraph to the covering letter as well.

If you’re putting the CV online, it’s worth including ‘keywords’ that potential employers are likely to search for, for example, job titles, sectors you have worked in etc.

If you are applying for a range of different roles at the same time, bear in mind that you may need to tailor the CV to emphasise some points more than others in relationship to a particular job. Get those amendments checked too.

Try not to leave gaps in your history and above all, don’t lie!

Format

The basic personal information you’ll need to put on your CV are your name, your address, an email contact address (make sure it’s a sensible one, not ‘beermonsterjim@email.com’ or equivalent!), a contact phone number and marital status. If you have a driving licence, it’s also worth saying so, even if the role won’t necessarily need you to drive.

Also include any professional organisations you’re a member of, and if you have a social media account for your professional position, include that too.

Set your document up with headings for the following, covered in detail below: employment/work experience history, education, qualifications, skills and interests/hobbies.

If you are specifically asked to include reference contacts, do so at the end of your CV under a separate heading; if not, then have the contact details to hand so you could provide them at interview. Two references are usually asked for: it’s important to get permission from the people you want to give the details for, and try to make one of them a recent employer.

Make sure that your completed document can fit on two sides of A4 – keep the information relevant but brief. If you’re applying for a very senior role, up that limit to three pages, as you’ll probably need more room to detail specific responsibilities, projects, achievements etc. Save minor details for the interview.

Employment/work experience history

Go through your career, starting from the most recent and working backwards. If you have a long history, try to keep it all fairly brief.

If you’ve been in the construction industry a while, you won’t need to describe the basics of the roles you’ve had, as they’ll be familiar to the people you’re applying too, but you can talk about particular special responsibilities, projects and achievements in that role.

If you’ve worked your way up the industry, briefly detail what moved you from one role to the next.

Education

Keep you educational history in the same order as your employment/work experience history, starting with the most recent, for example degree, then further education qualifications, then GCSEs. If you’re experienced and applying for a senior role, the basic qualifications are almost certainly unnecessary.

Qualifications

If you have any professional qualifications, list them separately to the above, and if there’s more than one, start with the most relevant and work down from there.

Skills

Write a short list of bullet points on your key skills in relation to work, for example motivation of yourself and others,  management of people and time, decision-making, ability to work under pressure and adapt to different situations.

Interests/hobbies

Just include ones that may have a relevance to the job you’re applying for, or at least illustrate qualities that may be admired by your potential employer, such as dedication, teamwork, responsibilities etc.

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