How to write a CV for the London Job Market
You dream of living in the bustling, beautiful and historic city of London, but there’s one thing standing between you and the captivating capital. A job.
The good news is that London’s industries are vast and job roles are plenty. But there are hundreds of other hopefuls dreaming of big city life in the UK, so competition for any role is tough.
To land your perfect London job, standing out should be your biggest priority. And your first step to jumping out against the masses is crafting a killer CV which is tailored to suit the London job market. Here’s how to do just that.
Get rid of the photo
While other countries may encourage a photo on a CV, it’s the opposite in the UK, because the London market hires on ability, not looks. A photo will only waste valuable space, which you should be using to prove your skills and value.
Of course, if you’re applying to a job in television or modeling, there might be an exception. Otherwise, photographs are a big UK CV no-no.
Create an easy-to-read structure
A quick walk through the streets of London will tell you how fast-moving the city really is. And the same goes for recruiters and hiring managers. With so many CV’s to scan through and multiple roles to recruit for each day, they appreciate candidates who make an effort to create an easily digestible CV.
At a high level, you need to break it up into the following sections:
Profile: a snappy introductory paragraph
Core skills: a snapshot of your key skills and attributes
Experience: details of your previous roles or other experience
Education / qualifications: details of any relevant qualifications, including grades, dates and institutions
After you’ve decided on the layout, it’s time for formatting. The key here is simplicity. There’s no need for fancy fonts or colors - stick to a clear, black font.
Make sure you’ve left a gap between the sections for some breathing space and use bold titles to make it easy for recruiters to scan through the document.
Last but not least, keep your CV to 2 pages in length. Busy London hiring managers don’t have the time to read any more.
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Include a punchy profile
Remember when we said that the main priority of your London job hunt was to stand out? Well, as the introductory paragraph that sits at the top of your CV, your profile is your best chance of doing that. We already know how busy city recruiters are - and your profile might be the only thing they read to decide whether you’re a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.
The aim of this section is to convince the reader you’re the person for the job, in just a few lines. Try to summarise your skills, experience, and knowledge in one powerful paragraph, and encourage people to read the rest of your CV.
Perfect your language
Spend some time making sure the English on your CV is absolutely perfect. Spelling mistakes are a complete no-go for any employer, so check, check and check once more. Note that UK English differs slightly from US English so ensure you've taken this into account when giving it a look over. If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to ask a friend who is fluent in English to have a look over it. You can also use a grammar checking tool like Grammarly, they have a free version which is good enough for most people.
Prove your impact
The question that recruiters will ultimately ask before making a decision is “will this candidate earn the business more revenue, customers, or exposure?”. Merely listing job responsibilities doesn’t prove that you can do any of that.
Instead, you need to focus on results. For example, don’t just state that you created and implemented a marketing campaign. Tell the recruiter that the marketing campaign you created generated £10,000 of revenue in one week. Use numbers and statistics to back up each claim you make, no matter what industry you work in.
Do you feel ready to write your CV and get the job of your dream?
Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV advice center StandOut CV. He also contributes careers advice to a number of leading websites, such as The Guardian, CV Library and Fast Company.