Bottom-up approach can make CV writing easier

Writing a CV can be a real nuisance.

How can I wade through my professional career, studies, voluntary work, additional training, and everything else to produce a two-page document of just 800 words without driving myself doolally?

Brevity can be a challenge for most people, which explains why a significant number of the CVs I see each week are too long. Deciding what to minimise, or leave out entirely, can prove extremely difficult for people when writing their own CV.

But you must keep it tight because otherwise you run the risk of asking the reader (i.e. the recruiter or potential employer) to read too much, and if they have a pile of CVs on their desk, they might easily decide to move onto the next one instead of ploughing through yours.

The whole process can be overwhelming. A tip to break the back of it, so to speak, is to work from the bottom up. If we take it that the early part of the CV must carry the greatest impact – to entice the reader to read on – you should leave writing that part to the very end, when you have all the other stuff out of your head.

So start at the end. Write down your referees’ names. Go to your phone and get their numbers. Find their emails. Then deal with your hobbies. You could jump to your education then. Get all the factual information down first – the jobs and courses, including years and general details.

You could even do these parts in two passes, fleshing out detail as you go. The aim is to get quarters two, three and four of your CV completed before you tackle the early sections. That way, you will have a clearer head when you come to write your Personal Profile and Key Achievements, Competencies & Attributes sections. You could even put off the writing of these sections to another day.

A CV is a hugely important document. Trying to bite the writing of it off in one ‘go’ can be too much. Start from the bottom, go up and down a few times, adding additional details as you go, and then, and only then, tackle those crucial sections at the start.

If you would like a CV template you can work from, email with Free CV Template in the subject line, and we will send you one that will help you create a CV to truly sell you to potential employers.