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Keep it simple and effective when writing your CV!

The best CVs are easy to understand. For a general CV the shorter, simpler and more straightforward your language, the more the employer will read on first glance.

A CV isn't an essay

Remember that a CV is not an essay; it is a flyer that says “interview me”. 

It is important to realise that simplifying does not diminish the intellectual worth of your skills and achievements. In fact, by creating a document that is easy to use, you demonstrate a huge amount of skill in areas such as precision and communication — both of which employers love, therefore increasing your employability.

Be aware of rival CVs

According to figures from the High Fliers Research report The Graduate Market in 2014, 9% more graduate job applications have been received by the UK’s top employers so far, compared with the same period in 2012-2013. When you take this into account with the fact that The Graduate Market in 2013 reported that on average 46 graduates applied for each position offered by Britain’s top employers last year, this should convince you of the importance of making your CV simple.

If your top selling-points and key skills are buried in lengthy and elaborate prose, there is less chance that they’ll be discovered when recruiters scan your CV.

Make it a sound bite!

Strip back your CV, cut out all the unnecessary words and get to the point. Think of the way in which MPs speak – they deliver their speeches in sound bites, written specifically to be picked up by TV news, Twitter and Facebook statuses. Legendary speeches such as “I have a dream” are remembered in definitive snippets.

Keep things short, sweet and informative. Effectively you are Twitterising your CV!

Simplify your CV in three steps

 Be confidentState your skills as facts rather than opinions   Don’t be afraid to write about yourself in an assertive way, for example: Avoid “I feel I have good communication skills” and write instead “Good communication skills.” This is more authoritative and saves four words.

Cut the waffle 

Remove introductory and wordy phrases and instead use active verbs   

There is no need to lead into sentences.Instead of writing “During my time as a waitress I organised a small team,” a more concise approach is “Organised a small team as a waitress.” This slight restructure saves four words and puts your skills at the beginning of sentences.

By doing this you will be beginning points with active verbs which describe actions and give your CV some energy. Instead of writing in a passive way, such as “My duties were to”, use punchy, easy to scan verbs.

For example:Managed, inspired, fulfilled, organised, showed, produced, founded, overcame, proposed, trained, persuaded, presented, negotiated, delivered, handled, budgeted, led.

Short and sweet

Your words, points and paragraphs should be as short as possibleSwap longer words to simpler and shorter alternatives to increase readability and de-jargonise your CV.

For instance: Established = set up     Consequently = so    In addition = also    Facilitated = helped    

Not only will you save a number of characters, but everything will read more naturally.

Write a long first draft, and then edit!

Aim to crop the word count by half. Ideally your CV should be no more than two sides of A4.

It is important to remember that this advice is referring to general descriptive CV language. Certain considerations will need to be taken into account dependent on the type of CV you are writing, as there are some areas that may not necessarily warrant simplification. For instance, a technical CV will contain terminology that is recognised in that particular sector.