Writing a Winning CV

Your CV is your main marketing tool in your job search – but it’s almost certain that it can be improved – consider the following tips:

Blow your own trumpet!

Eliminate the obvious: Most HR officers or care managers will be able to make a reasonable educated guess at your current responsibilities from your job title – don’t overshadow your USPs (unique selling points) with information that’s not critical.

Success sells:

Think about your achievements – these might include:

  • Applying your initiative to a situation which led to an improvement/result
  • Leading or participating in a cross-functional project team
  • Overseeing improvements in talent attraction or retention
  • Developing your team to enable them to earn promotion

Leave them wanting more:

References to your successes should aim to convince employers that you should at least be called in for interview – don’t over-elaborate about how you planned and executed each achievement (but be prepared to back them up at interview)

Mind the gaps!

Tempting fate:

Gaps in CVs typically sound the alarm bells for those tasked with screening applications before drawing up an initial round of first interviews; when checking for spelling, examine your dates of employment or education too – it’s easy to transpose numbers and cut months or years from your work history.

Suspicious minds:

You might have a perfectly plausible reason for not working for a while – but without addressing it in your CV, potential employers may wonder what you’re hiding.

Thorny subjects:

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how you should explain gaps that you’re uncomfortable discussing; you might want to point readers back to a reason given in your covering letter or email – the risk is that your CV may not be opened in the first place. By registering with Proactive Rail we will be able to help do the groundwork for you, or use our own knowledge of the employer to advise on how best to pre-empt any negativity or reluctance

Stay relevant and tailored

Stick to the job:

Tailor your skills and achievements to what the employer is looking for; if there’s a strong emphasis on people management, bring your supervisory and coaching record to the forefront – don’t relegate it beneath mainstream technical or operational experience that the client would look for regardless of the vacancy’s seniority.


Employers increasingly seek competencies rather than specific experience – carefully consider those you’ve acquired and developed, and map these to the job and person specifications.

Check, check and check again:

Proof read your CV. Don’t rely on your software’s automated spell-checks – check yourself and, if feasible, ask a trusted friend to do so for you.