How to write a GREAT CV, make yours stand out, and nail that awesome role!

9th May 2017

People often struggle to write their resume. Let’s face it, we all have CVs in one shape or another, some good, some bad, and some just plain terrible! Here are our top 10 tips to help you write a clear and concise CV to catch HR/Recruiters’ attention.

1. Maximum 1 to 2 pages. We are interested in knowing your recent roles and responsibilities, so write in detail the latest 2-3 roles you have held. In 5-6 points, you should detail your specific duties such as key achievements, output of work (i.e. budget, key accounts, percentages, KPIs etc.). Keep it brief on part time roles back in high school/college years, this is unlikely to be relevant now.

2. Introduction of yourself. Let us know who you are through a brief synopsis by adding 3-4 lines in a ‘personal profile’ at the beginning of the CV. Keep it open without being too specific e.g. “I want a leading role at a Top 5 Advertising Agency” when you are looking for a great role ANYWHERE. Better to say, “I am looking to join a well-respected Agency doing great work that I can help influence and help…”.

3. Brief description of each company. Unless it’s Facebook or Apple, don’t assume people know what the company is. You are currently a ‘Digital Marketer’ doesn’t mean you have done digital marketing your whole life, nor may you have worked for pure digital marketing companies in the past. A sentence describing who they are and what they do as a business, often helps recruiters and clients to understand your role better and make you stand out from the crowd.

4. Work experience. If you have several job experiences, order them starting from the most recent one, and state clearly the month, year, and the location of where you are based for each role. It is always good to show internal progression within the company, too.

5. Education. Again, this should be in order from the latest degree, clear and concise stating the location, what is the degree and what is your major and/or minor was. If it is a part-time degree or a distance learning program, put it in. My advice: don’t put in the grades unless you have straight A’s!

6. Languages. If you know multiple languages don’t hide it from your CV! This is especially good for international applicants: even though the job only requires Mandarin speaking, if you also speak Japanese you might find yourself working on the Honda account. Never assume that recruiters or clients will assume that you speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin etc. List them ALL and to what level you speak them; native, business level, proficient, beginner.

7. Skills and Personal Interest. Don’t highlight obvious ‘skills’, skills which are within your key achievements i.e. a PR practitioner putting ‘press release writing’ and ‘handle PR crisis’ for skills. Adding a personal touch by dropping in a few interests is always good, it shows your personality and differentiates you e.g. ‘I love extreme sports and swam with sharks off the Great Barrier Reef’. Those interests might be an ice-breaker during the interview and will certainly make you stand out!

8. Clear font and size. For a good-looking CV, my suggestions will be using size 10-11 Arial/Calibri. Make sure you keep the same format and adjust the border if needed. Often clean, simple, and neat CVs are the best.

9. Spell check and proofread. You will be surprised how many people do not check and proof read their CV thoroughly before applying for jobs. It is a direct representation and reflection of who you are, so show your best to impress people who spend time reading your CV. It is not hard to seek help from a couple of friends or family members to take a quick look at your resume. They can often spot the typos and provide unbiased comments and opinions.

10. LinkedIn profile/online CV. People can easily upload personal information on the internet to LinkedIn or on their website. It is important that your online CV is showing the exact career history, dates, title etc. and matches what you have written in your CV. Mismatch of information or inconsistencies will make people question your honesty and accuracy of the CV they received.

MCG Associates in Hong Kong is constantly hiring for our clients across Communications, Digital and Design & Strategy sectors in APAC. If you are actively looking for jobs and think you got a smashing CV, send it over to us at olivia@mcg-associates.hk!