CV Writing: The Fine Line Between Truth and Fiction, and How to Make the Most of Your Experience

Posted on 20th Jun 18

CV writing can be a challenging and daunting endeavour, especially when you know that you’re competing against a large volume of similarly qualified candidates. It begs the question: how can I present my experience – all within a couple of pages – to make myself stand out from the crowd? There’s a temptation which, let’s be honest, we’ve all succumbed to, to stretch/embellish the truth. There’s a fine line however between doing this and providing false information, which is misleading and dishonest to your prospective employer. It’s also a pointless affair that will quickly become evident when you can’t do the job! Here are some guidelines you should follow when writing your CV, and some tips on how to refine and enhance the experience you do have.

1)    Only give yourself full credit where it’s due

When it’s a matter of words on a page, it’s easy to become carried away and claim responsibility for something beyond your current duties. Whilst you may have helped a colleague or superior with a project for example, that doesn't mean that you can take all of the credit. Instead of saying that you were responsible for a certain task, which solely implicates you, opt for phrases such as ‘I helped’ and ‘I contributed’. It’ll demonstrate that you were actively involved without suggesting that you were fully responsible. It’ll also highlight your willingness to participate and enthusiasm for the role, which won’t go unnoticed.  

2)    Highlight your importance within the team

Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, whether you’re an intern, Junior Developer or Part Qualified Accountant, your role is always significant to the business. Be sure to illustrate your contribution and exponential value to the team, paying particular attention to key moments when your actions directly resulted in positive outcomes. If you’ve been given additional opportunities to take on further responsibility and showcase your talent, no matter how small the task, make sure to identify these as well.

3)    Show that you've taken initiative

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to impress a prospective employer, give them examples of when you took initiative. Be sure to outline particular activities/projects that you’ve led, and note any developments you’ve made to improve or optimise them. It’s good to include at least one point like this within each work-related paragraph; that way, the person reading it will be able to identify a pattern whereby you’ve gone above and beyond in your role.

Looking for more CV writing resources? Why not check out VANRATH’s Knowledge Centre here. If you’d like to speak to somebody instead, feel free to ring VANRATH and speak to a consultant directly on 028 9033 0250.