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CV Writing Advice

Even in this digital age, the importance of the humble CV cannot be overstated. It remains the most powerful of weapons in securing interviews. Think of your CV as your personal marketing tool, spend time developing one or more CV's (different CV's for different jobs) that really show what you are capable of and have achieved.

A dynamic CV will show your responsibilities, achievements and value to an employer in a concise yet informative way. Even a specialist recruitment consultancy like Food Careers cannot guarantee results if your CV leads an employer to view your application less favourably than an inferior applicant who just happens to have a better CV.

When representing candidates, Food Careers will discuss the merits of your application with the food manufacturing client. However, we alone cannot guarantee you an interview. Your CV has to fully support our introduction and endorsement, as what the employer reads about you in your CV may be the determining factor as to whether you are called for interview or not.

It’s a competitive market for professionals seeking jobs in the food manufacturing sector, and we offer the following advice to assist you in building the ideal CV.

Capture immediate attention. Start with a hard-hitting personal profile that avoids clichés such as "hard working", or "team player with excellent communication skills." Make sure your career history is punchy and to the point with qualified and quantified successes. Your CV should be in chronological order as it's only natural that employers will be more interested in your most recent food industry experience.

Have a couple of versions of your CV. Some food industry professionals have a number of CV’s and submit the most appropriate one given the requirements of the job (as per the job description). For example, if you were a sales professional with experience of selling into both Retail and Foodservice, but the job you were applying for was focused on Retail sales, we would recommend that you compose a specific ‘Retail Sales CV’ and use that CV to apply.

When composing your CV, use headings such as ‘Responsibilities’ and ‘Achievements’ and detail information under bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs as this both maximises space and makes it much easier for potential clients to locate critical information.

When documenting your career, place the emphasis on the last 5 to 10 years. However, if you have been out of the food industry and working in an unrelated sector for a few years, you may want to limit this information as the client is not going to find it relevant to their food business.

Do not produce a CV of more than 3 pages. Give some thought to what you belief an employer is looking for in a prospective employee and think about the 'value' you bring. Put this information on the first page of the CV and include your most appropriate successes and achievements. If you are struggling for space it is acceptable to summarise jobs held 15 or 20 years ago with job titles and two or three bullet points describing responsibilities and achievements.

A potential employer will want to look at your CV and quickly see the quantifiable and measurable benefits you have provided to previous employers, so detail cost savings achieved concisely in £’s, or mention what you did and what it meant to the business in financial terms, or percentage point improvements you delivered. Don't be afraid to use ‘food industry speak’ as we will understand it as a food industry recruiter, and so will our food sector clients.

When highlighting your strengths and achievements, always document examples to back this up and tweak your examples to make them relevant to the job you are applying for.

If you are a professional already established in the food industry, the client/recruiter will be more interested in your relevant experience than your qualifications, so detail your career history at the top of your CV, directly below your Personal details and contact information. Relevant professional qualifications should follow your career history, and education and general qualifications should then appear.

As with any professional document, presentation is important. Spelling and grammatical errors will create a bad impression. Ask someone to proof read your CV.

CV ‘Dont's’

Don’t expand the truth. People move around the food industry and it’s possible the employer could know someone at your company who will shoot down your claims. Even if you do manage to dupe the employer, your lack of skill/knowledge may come back to haunt you when you start the job.

Don’t use elaborate fonts, colours, photo’s or pictures to make your CV stand out. The more gimmicky your CV, the more off-putting it will be to an employer. Although Food Careers can process CV’s with photo’s, other recruiters may struggle with photographs which may result in your application not being registered correctly.

Don’t divulge sensitive information such as your NI or Passport number. If an employer or recruiter wants to progress with your application they will ask for this information later.

Don’t talk in clichés. Phrases such as ‘highly motivated individual who works well under pressure on my own or in a team’ are dull and the employer has heard them all before. Make yourself stand out with carefully crafted phrases that are factual and capture the employer’s attention. An example of this may be the explanation of a project that involved working with food products that are the same as the employer’s product range - enabling them to better relate to your example.

Don’t make the employer/recruiter ‘turn detective’ in order to determine whether you are suitable for the job. Recruiters and Employers don't have time to wade through CV's before stumbling upon the salient points, so make your CV clear and concise. If you have the necessary skills and are able to perform the duties of the job, ensure your CV explains this clearly. It will maximise the likelihood of securing an interview and subsequent job offer.

If you require further CV advice or would like to meet to talk through your CV, do not hesitate to contact us.