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CV Advice

How to Create the Perfect Freelance CV

CV AdviceSuzie Finch
perfect freelancing cv.jpg

Writing a CV for freelance positions is a little different to that of permanent ones. Freelance CV's often have to accommodate lots of different projects and achievements therefore you need to ensure you structure things correctly, avoid gaps and display your information that shows you are an expert in your field.

Like all job applications keep in mind that the average recruiter spends only six seconds looking at these documents before making a decision, read on to get CV Writing tips that will help you create your perfect freelance CV.

Be Clear, Open and Honest

With the emergence of sites like Fiverr as well as other online gig platforms, freelancing is a big thing right now and is expected to get even bigger through 2019 and beyond. Working for yourself has never been more popular!

If you're looking to become a freelancer then you need a CV that reflects this and demonstrates to potential clients (not employers) that you are the expert they need to complete their assignments.

Be clear in your CV that you are seeking freelance opportunities (if you are open to permanent roles as well create a separate CV for this), highlighting yourself as a freelancing professional will help clients gain confidence in your ability.

It is important that you know what to include in a CV. Employers want to see your experience, accomplishments, skills and contributions towards projects including URLs, team sizes, budgets etc. The contract market is a competitive space however I must stress that it is important to tell the truth, an honest candidate keeps their integrity and will go a lot further in their career.

Include Samples of your Recent and Best Work

The timescales involved when hiring freelancers are quick, clients will often make a decision based upon recent projects, great samples and rates.

When writing your perfect freelance CV ensure that you include all relevant information that supports your application, this could include past work, blogs, published articles, websites, pdf's, designs or similar. Most freelancers will create a brochure or a portfolio highlighting their best work, and as tempting as it is to list every thing you have ever done you must remember the less is more rule and focus only on your biggest and best achievements - this will give potential clients the best snapshot of what you can do.

Most freelance projects are short, don't feel the need to overload your freelance CV with loads of text, keep each entry short, I'd say list the client, your job title, a URL or project headline and a single paragraph on the work you completed.

Like a traditional CV a perfect freelance CV should be no longer than 1 or 2 pages.

Make Your Best Clients Stand-Out

You want your CV to make an impression, therefore make sure you give pride and place to your biggest accomplishments with your biggest clients. Ask clients for testimonials and include snippets of this on your CV - this creative freelance CV includes a great testimonial at the top.

You still need to ensure your CV demonstrates a clear, clean layout (as you still want to beat the 6 second rule), but if you feel you can't give preference to employers then use your portfolio or supporting brochure or additional docs to support your application and highlight to a new client exactly what you can do.

Build Professional Profiles (and make it relevant).

A professionally written CV with a great design will help you get noticed but employers are looking for more than just experience, they want proof! When reviewing your CV they'll also be looking for a quick way to see beyond your projects. If you're a creative type then an online portfolio is an absolute must, perhaps you're a developer in which case an active Github or Stackoverflow profile is a necessity, maybe you're a Marketeer in that case social media is your friend (you must have a blog and a huge follower base, right?).

Support your application with professional profiles packed full of information a client wants to see, show that you are an expert in your field and actually providing advice to peers in your field.

5 Tips for Writing a CV in 2019

CV AdviceSuzie Finch
5 CV Writing Tips For 2019.jpg

A professional CV is an essential tool in your job seeking armoury. If you have faced rejection after rejection when applying for jobs it may be because you lack a good quality CV. With your CV you are presenting an employer with their first impression of you, so make sure you make it a good one with these 5 tips for writing a CV in 2019.

Include Basic Information on your CV

There are many ways to write a CV but regardless of your approach there are some key bits of information that you must include. Your full name and personal contact details (phone number, general location and email address) should be the first details you fill out. Followed with education, work history and skills (View this CV Example for inspiration)

It's important to focus on what skills and experience you have for the job you are applying to, your CV should be a demonstration to an employer that you have the skills and experience in the field and you can do the job. The employer wants to be able to visualise you in the role so make sure your work history and skills are relevant and highlights how effective and efficient you were in your previous jobs.

Experience and Employment History

Your Experience and Employment history is an essential part of your CV and is often the first thing recruiters and employers look at when they first open your document. In this section you can outline previous jobs, internships and work experience. Take advantage of this section and make yourself marketable. Highlight your history in reverse chronological order with your most recent job being the first on the list. Just to reiterate employers want to see your most recent career history first.

Include key details from each of your previous positions including info such as job title, employer name, starting / end dates and a small summary of your duties and achievements. Use bullet points to organise your skills, achievements and responsibilities. If you have years’ worth of experience from different jobs make sure that you only include the skills and experience that are relevant for the role you are applying for (CV Mirroring is a useful technique).

Presentation

The way you present your CV is just as important as the information you put into it. Though opinions vary from company to company, there are many common factors that all employers look for in a CV, they want to see information easily and quickly. You need to also You will want to add a useful, professional sounding title. “Jack of all trades” isn’t going to cut it.

Focus on a clean and professional look and feel for your resume. Consider one of these many professional CV templates for word which are proven to increase response rates and gain more interviews. These pre-made templates are designed by professionals and include gorgeous fonts, dividers and all the sections necessary for a professional CV. All you have to do is fill the sections in with your own information.

Make Your CV Stand Out

Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs so it's essential that you make your CV stand-out. The best CVs are those that are clear and conscious but also look creative and professional. Recruiters simply do not have enough time in the day to comprehensively read every individual CV they get. So they skim read, you may have heard of the 6 second rule - this is the length of time each recruiter spends on a CV before making a judgement. Choose an attractive layout and an eye-catching title that will encourage them to examine your document more closely.

Have you ever heard of the term “less is more”? That saying holds true with CVs. Keep it simple, clear and straight to the point and no more than 2 pages. The longer you make your CV document the higher the likleyhood that a recruiter will move onto the next application.

Include your Social Media (but make it Professional)

Social media can be a key tool in the pursuit of career greatness (if used correctly). If you spend time engaging in industry groups or commenting on forums and articles it shows that you have an active mind and work towards contributing and learning from your industry. 70% of employers check social media profiles of job applicants so if you are active in these industries on social media it can give you an advantage over others applying for the same role.

Social Media can make or break your job search so refrain from using personal accounts on your CV and stick to using only professional accounts. Make sure that you are 100% satisfied with your digital footprint before showcasing it to potential employers and recruiters.

What is the best format for a résumé?

CV AdviceSuzie Finch
What is the best format for a resume.jpg

So you've written your résumé, optimised it for the most relevant keywords and given it to your esteemed peers to review, now it's time to get yourself out there and start applying to new jobs, but what is the best format for your résumé?

Word Document

Using Word is still the number 1 choice for compiling your résumé document and playing around with styles, fonts and layouts, and with the benefit of being free to try there really is no other alternative for the serious job seeker.  You could opt for OpenOffice or other free word related software programmes, however in our experience they just don’t offer the same level of functionality and are not mainstream so can cause compatibility errors.

MS Word is not without its limits however. Saving files in a .doc or docx format is good for you to view and edit your documents locally but can cause problems when sending externally for review.  You see, Word reacts to the fonts and styles you have installed on your local machine, if sent to a 3rd party they are likely to have a different setup therefore MS Word will automatically replace missing fonts with alternative matches which could spoil the layout and design you’ve intended as part of your résumé application.

There is a simple solution to this problem, once you’ve completed your résumé document in MS Word just save it as a PDF, this locks in your formatting and ensures it renders the same regardless of external computer configurations and which platform it’s viewed on (desktop, mobile or otherwise).

For inspiration of what you can achieve with MS Word be sure to check out these Professional CV Templates Word for some great ideas.

PDF

The PDF is by far the best resume file format to use when applying to jobs. As we’ve just mentioned, the PDF format will lock in the formatting and will ensure that the employer will see your résumé exactly as you designed it. 

PDF’s are also compatible with both PCs and Macs and come with the added protection against things like viruses. More benefits of using a PDF can be found here.

Hiring managers, recruiters or other 3rd parties also cannot change your document without special editing software, this gives added assurance that your original document will arrive untampered and secure.  It’s common place for recruitment consultants to edit résumés prior to forwarding to clients, it is in your own benefit to avoid this, therefore a PDF will help you here also.

How to save your résumé document as a .PDF file

If you’re unsure of how to actually create a PDF here are the steps to save your Word document as a PDF:

  1. Within MS Word navigate to File > Save As;

  2. Choose the destination where you want the file to be saved to;

  3. Enter the name of your file;

  4. Select the file type drop down and select PDF (*.pdf)

  5. Click Save.

For additional support on saving documents on PDF Microsoft have this PDF support page.

Alternative résumé formats…

HTML and Plain Text format applications can also be used to make applications, however these approaches are not considered mainstream and can cause issues to employer processes geared to cope with standard formats.

When applying to a position you should be aiming to make your job application as seamless as possible for an employer, the further you drift into non-standard CV types the bigger the risk of your application being discounted (or not even opened!).

The application sweet spot

 Our advice is to aim for an eye-catching résumé design produced in MS Word and saved in a PDF format.

What to include in a CV

CV AdviceSuzie Finch
What to include in a CV - You’ve Got This!

What to include in a CV - You’ve Got This!

Your Curriculum Vitae (also called a CV or a résumé if you reside in the US or Canada) is perhaps the single most important document you'll produce in your lifetime, done correctly it will open the doors to amazing careers, opportunities and people.  Don't underestimate it!

This initial 1 or 2-page summary allows you to express your skills, education, experience and personality when selling yourself to employers. Below we've listed what to include in a CV.

What to include in a CV…

Personal / Contact Details

The following should be included in your CV as mandatory: Full name, contact phone number, email address and general location (a full address isn't necessary a city/ town is fine).

A photograph can be a nice addition to your application, however this is down to personal choice and is more relevant to certain career paths (i.e. marketing, creative, customer facing roles etc.)

It is not necessary to include your Date of Birth, in fact I would actively advise not to include this on your CV.

 

A Brief Introduction

Think of this as your elevator pitch, a concise and succinct statement that sells your skills, experiences and sector specialisms.  It should give the reader (a future employer) a clear idea of what you have achieved and where your career is heading.

 

Education & Professional Qualifications

List formal education with dates and the grades you achieved.  Headline information is fine, employers and recruiters are typically only skim reading this information.

Over the years I’ve reviewed many applications where grades have simply been omitted, when this happens employers and recruiters tend to consider the worst grade was obtained (which is often not the case), I’d always recommend including your grades.

Just to add, unless you’re just starting your career I would say it isn’t necessary to include any qualifications below A-Levels.

 

Employment history

When listing your employment history be sure that it is done in a reverse chronological order (this CV example will give you an idea of what I mean: Reverse Chronological Resume). 

Under each role include a brief summary on each of your past employers, this should cover how many employees they have and what sector they operate in.  This is useful information to future employers and is often overlooked.

Focus on the duties you have performed as well as the value you’ve delivered. Quantifiable statements such as “In 2017 I designed and implemented a social media strategy which increased traffic by 32% resulting in a 4.6% uplift in sales” work well! Companies can directly relate this type of information to their business and understand how you could deliver value.

For longer careers you don’t need to show all positions (it’s likely that many older positions are totally irrelevant anyway), you’ll find that going back 10 years will be enough, oh and don’t go too heavy on bullet points, I would advise to include no more than 7 bullet points per employer.

 

Skills & Achievements

Here you can talk about (or list) your relevant skills and achievements, you can use an array of methods to display this information, graphs, line charts, lists etc.  Either way this information is a great way to bring your CV to life by adding that little graphical touch (be bold and stand-out).

In this Modern CV Template I’ve created a design that uses doughnut graphs, where in this Resume Template I’ve used line charts to express skills.

Focus on your core skills and keep it relevant to the positions you are applying for, resist the temptation to include all software and technology you have ever worked with (does some of it even exist anymore), use an employer’s job advert to truly understand their required skills and mirror your CV against these.

 

Hobbies (Optional)

Considered as secondary information the hobbies / interests section is not necessary but does give you an extra chance to express your personality and include activities that might support your application. 

In the past I have been asked to filter based on this field – it was a snowboarding company and they stipulated that all applicants must have an interest in winter sports.  So keep things like this in mind when filling this information in.

 

References (optional)

 Listing references is optional, however you should always include the header with the term “available on request” if you intend to leave this information blank.

I would actually advise against including direct names and contact details on your CV as this information can be misused by recruitment agents (believe me when I say this does happen and more often than you may think).

My advice would be to hold back personal reference information and only supply this directly to the employer or recruiter once your application has progressed through the initial stages.

 

Anything Else To Include In A CV?

If you include this information on a CV you’ll have covered all the basics and produced a solid document to take forward.

To enhance it you may wish to include additional information that relates directly to your industry.  Certain employers within niche sectors sometimes like to see additional information, for example an application made for an Architectural Technician may require additional project and budgetary information or creative links and portfolios for design roles.  Academic roles tend to require longer applications which include published papers and speaking gigs etc.  Understand the market you’re in.

This should give you a basis for what to include on your CV / Resume for examples please take inspiration from these CV Examples listed on my website.

 

 


CV Tips | 7 Tips On Writing That Perfect CV

CV Advice, Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
CV Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips That Make The Difference!

Writing a CV can be a daunting process, especially if you haven't done one in a while! Whether you are making tweaks to your CV or starting from scratch the following CV Writing Tips will ensure you make an impact and stand-out amongst the crowds.

7 Tips to CV Writing Success...

1) CV Mirroring

// By adopting the vocabulary and tone of the employer you will make your CV appear more relevant and buzzword heavy. Mirror text used within vacancy descriptions, job adverts and LinkedIn profiles for significantly improved applications. We recently published 'This One Trick Will Massively Upgrade Your Job Search' which explains CV mirroring in more detail.

2) Clarity

// Be clear with your CV text and with your expectations. A clear definition of your expectations, skills and experience will allow employers to see the information quickly and assess key criteria efficiently. No waffle please.

3) Brevity

// Employers and Recruiters are busy people, be concise and succinct. Your CV should be no longer than 2 pages and should be a snapshot of your abilities and experience (it's not a book of life).

4) No Typos

// Attention to detail is critical, one typo is enough to see your CV thrown on the scrapheap. Upon finishing your CV, spell and grammar check the document before asking someone else to proof read it for you. Word of caution, MS Word doesn't pick up typos in upper case letters :-/

5) Differentiate

// Be sure to differentiate yourself. Recruiters often have hundreds (if not thousands) of CVs to review, so make yourself memorable, display information in innovative ways and stand-out from the crowd. These CV Designs should provide inspiration.

6) Relevancy

// We've covered keyword mirroring above, however ensure you only include relevant skills and experience. Omit unnecessary skills and experience and never repeat yourself. The less is more approach really can make a difference, remember your CV is only the introduction and a snapshot of your career to date.

7) Target

// Make sure your CV is tailored to each job application you make. Demonstrate to future employers that you understand their business, the position on offer and what value you can bring. If you can stretch the extra mile a specific Cover Letter that covers things like salary expectations, availability and locality is a real winner.

9 Resume Templates That'll Take Your Career To The Next Level...

CV Advice, Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch

Resume templates come in a variety of different designs, colours, layouts and styles therefore choosing the one that best suits your career history and personality can be a challenging task. In this latest blog we’ve put together a collection of our most popular resume templates and highlighted which professions they are best suited for.

Whether you are a Graduate or a Teacher, an IT Consultant or HR Manager the following overview should give you some insight into which Resume Template is best suited to you...

Resume Template 1 - The Creative CV / Designer CV

A Creative CV / Creative Resume shouldn't be too long, the main focus for an employer is to review the quality of the design work and not to deliberate over skills and bullet points.  Ensure that all job applications include both a CV / Resume and a Portfolio.  Our example...

Resume Template 2 - The  CV Template For Serious Professionals

With serious professions it is important to pick a resume template with a strong layout but without the distraction of too many graphical elements.  Keep colours neutral and focus on CV Content.  Our example...

Resume Template 3 - The  Teacher Resume

Teacher Resumes can require plenty of space to list achievements, skills and specialist courses.  These documents need to be able to incorporate lists easily and display information clearly.  Our example...

Resume Template 4 - The  Creative Intern / Creative Graduate Resume

Competition is high for Graduate roles therefore it is important your CV / Resume makes an impression and stands out from other similar applications.  Be sure to include links to portfolios / social networks as well.  Our example...

Resume Template 5 - The  Serious Intern / Professional Graduate Resume

As mentioned competition is very high for Graduate roles, your experience will be limited therefore focus on grades and achievements (don't waffle on about non relevant work history). It is essential you triple check your documents - just one typo might be enough to find your CV in the rejected pile.  Our example...

Resume Template 6 - The Office Worker Resume

We've picked a slightly creative template with neutral colours here, however we would recommend choosing a template that mirrors the personality of the employer.  If they are a corporate company consider something straight-up professional like the Newgate, otherwise if they are perhaps a trendy web start-up you could consider the Compton.  Otherwise play it safe with this, our general example...

Download this Creative Resume Template Here.

Download this Creative Resume Template Here.

Resume Template 7 - The Finance Resume

We've highlighted a strong document design which lends itself nicely to finance professions. A well-designed CV template is paramount for finance professionals as employers expect candidates to impart information clearly and succinctly (as this typically forms part of the day job).   Our example...

Resume Template 8 - Creative Types (But Not Designers)

There are plenty of professions which require a creative outlook but don't involve getting down and dirty with PhotoShop.  Perhaps you are a Creative Producer or a Social Media Executive either way this template will show potential clients you understand what it takes to stand-out   Our example...

Resume Template 9 - A CV For IT & Techie Types

CV Templates for technical roles need to handle lists of skills and be able to easily display achievements and accomplishments.  Vacancies in this sector can often be miss understood by 3rd party recruiters or internal talent sourcers therefore demonstrate your most relevant skills clearly and tailor each application for maximum impact .  Our example...

Looking for bespoke advice...

If you'd like us to recommend a Resume Template that matches your exact profession get in touch with and we'll gladly help :)

Good luck with the job search!

CV Advice | 9 Things You Should NEVER Include On Your CV

CV AdviceSuzie Finch
CV Advice

 

You might just be hurting your application chances by including any of the following points on your CV.

Here are 9 things you should never include on your CV...

1) Full Personal Address:

// A general location is perfect, if you are not local to the position you must ALWAYS include info relating to your relocation "relocating to: LOCATION in DATE" or "Happy to relocate".

2) A Third Person:

// Never talk about yourself in the third person, this isn't a magazine interview!

3) Unexplained Gaps:

// Ensure your CV flows, and makes sense. If you spent 2 years on a sabbatical trekking in the Andes then say so.

4) Full Reference Details (emails, phone numbers):

// Only at the interview / offer stage should this information be disclosed.

5) Your Life Story:

// Your CV is an introduction, not a dossier on your life history. Keep it succinct and no longer than 2 pages.

6) Your Salary Expectations:

// Don't restrict your chances of an interview (phone / face-to-face), you are better positioned to negotiate a strong salary if you have already excelled in an interview.

7) An Avalanche of Bullet Points:

// Take the time to write about each section in your CV, bullet points are great but use them sparingly.

8) Negative Words:

// Leave out all negativity (unfortunately, difficult, frustrating, problems, discouraged) and focus on positive words (achiever, capable, enthusiastic, talented, powerful).

9) Family Details:

// Avoid listing personal information such as marital status, dependents, religion etc.