How to write a CV that will get you hired

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How to Write a CV That Will Get You Hired

Searching for a new job can be tough. It’s time-consuming, and there are often a lot of job listings to sift through before you decide what to apply for. Once you’ve made your shortlist, getting your application noticed can be just as challenging.

The quality of your CV or resume can make all the difference. Whatever level you are at in the food and beverage sector, it’s essential to have the right CV that showcases you to your best potential and grabs the hiring party’s attention.

Start with Research 

Starting with a blank page can be overwhelming, so make an outline plan for your CV first. Think about what you want to achieve in your career in the short and long term. With a goal in mind, it will give your CV focus. If you haven’t decided which direction to take your career and have several goals or roles in mind, group these together so you can have a CV for each area.

Research the jobs you would like to apply for. Find at least ten job adverts for the role you are considering (even if they are in the wrong location). Learn what skills they are looking for, what jargon they use, what abbreviations (make a note of anything relevant to your experience), and see what experience they require. Pay attention to job titles since there could be multiple variations. Identify the most common job title for the role you are looking for. And finally, think, what keywords would you enter in Google to find the relevant resumes for the job if you were a recruiter? All this information will help structure your CV and improve your chances of being found.  

Next, think about and write down your experience and qualifications that would be relevant to the role. Finally, add a list of the skills you have picked up along the way – both job-specific and transferable personal skills.

Now it’s time to write your CV.

The Perfect CV structure

Firstly, your CV should be easy to read as well as compliant with applicant tracking systems (ATS). Often one supports another.

Most recruiters use special software to store CVs, known as applicant tracking systems (or ATS). They will search their ATS to find a relevant CV when a vacancy becomes available.

The ATS picks up the keywords in CVs so the recruiter can search for the most appropriate candidate. If the system can’t find the relevant words on your CV, your chances of getting picked for an interview are low – even if you’re perfectly qualified.

Remember that many ATS don’t know how to handle tables or images. They like to see your work experience information in sequential order. And finally, Word documents and pdf file types work better than others.

Creating an ATS-friendly resume is not as scary as it sounds (stay tuned for our future blog on the subject!) In short, don’t overcomplicate your CV.

Aside from the ATS, remember that recruiters go through thousands of CVs daily. Show them what they want to see and ensure that relevant information is right before their eyes!

Your CV checklist

  • Ensure your contact details are up to date (both email and phone number). You don’t need to include a full address, date of birth or marital status anymore.
  • Use clear and straightforward language.
  • List your job experience using reverse–chronological formatting.
  • Make sentences short and to the point.
  • Check your spelling and grammar, use the built-in spell checker or a tool like Grammarly to spell check your CV, and ask a trusted friend or family member to proofread it as well.
  • Stay focused – If your CV is more than two pages long, it probably lacks focus. Review and only leave in the most important data; remember your research findings.
  • Describe your relevant experience, using keywords, jargon, and abbreviations if necessary, as per your findings in your research – but write these words in full too!

Highlight your niche 

Another example is being specific about your niche, so rather than saying you worked in food manufacturing, also say what you focused on. For example, if this was cereal manufacturing, hiring managers from the cereal industry will actively seek you out and may be prepared to offer a better package for your skills.

Also, remember, unless you worked for a well-known food and beverage business, recruiters might not know what the company you worked for specialised in. So it helps to add brief information about the company you worked for. In just a sentence or two, describe what your company does, what products you worked with, the company size (by revenue or number of employees, and the geography covered. This is particularly important when headhunters are looking for candidates from your niche industry.

You can also mention your niche expertise in your Personal Statement.

Job Titles

Some businesses use specific job titles that make sense within their organisation but can be misleading when headhunters come across them. For example, Logistics Coordinator; in some companies, this role might be called Supply Chain Coordinator. Or a Supply Chain planner in other companies may be called a Sales Administrator. You can keep your original job title, or if you add your CV to the database, use the most commonly used job title as identified in your research. This will increase your chances of being found by headhunters and picked up by the ATS software.

Showcase your strengths and achievements

Remember, your CV is your chance to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. 

Clearly detail your key achievements. Many people make the mistake of focusing on experience, and their CV becomes a list of duties. Instead, pick out what you achieved in each role. For example, did you get promoted, did you introduce any new systems, and did you coach or mentor other team members? All of these assets will help you stand out. The more senior the role you are applying for, the bigger the focus on achievements should be. Supporting your statements with numbers is equally important for management positions.

Demonstrate your loyalty

Typically if a business has a full-time permanent position open, they are looking for candidates who can demonstrate loyalty to the previous employees. This is because they are looking for someone more likely to commit to them and stay for the long term. The time and costs of recruitment can be high, plus it adds extra pressure to a team, so loyalty is important. Bear this in mind when structuring your CV. Also, if the company you worked for changed its name, it’s essential to demonstrate the link between the names (remember to avoid using graphics, though, so that the ATS is not confused!)

If you had a short-term assignment, explain this and your reason for leaving. Even better – add details of a reference.

Personal Statement

Finalise your CV with a personal statement. This is usually placed at the front of the CV. Here you should outline your career goals, show your passion and ambitions (if relevant to the role), and what you can offer to the employer. This is also an excellent opportunity to add additional keywords, which improve the chances of your CV being seen. It’s also a perfect opportunity to specify the industry and the niche you specialise in.

CV Templates

If you’re unsure how to layout or structure your CV, ask your recruiter if you’re working with one (like RND). You can also find CV templates using MS Word Templates and many examples using a simple Google search.

Typical mistakes

To bring us to a close, here’s a summary of the most common mistakes we see on CVs and resumes – both in the F&B industry and beyond:

  1. Outdated or missing contact information (email/phone number)
  2. Confusing job titles
  3. No info about achievements.
  4. Too generic – not clear what industries you covered, what niche you specialise in
  5. Multiple grammatical errors

From CV to interview

Remember your CV is often the first impression you make on a potential employer. Whether you apply directly or through a recruiter, your CV is typically the first thing a hiring manager will see. Follow our guidance above, and you’re giving yourself the best chance of getting a foot in the door and the all-important first interview.

For advice or help with finding your next role or with your recruitment process, contact RND Recruitment – specialist recruiters to the Food and Beverage sector, including suppliers and manufacturers across the UK but specifically in London and the South East.