How to write the perfect CV

Finding a job in the energy industry has rarely been tougher. When employers spend just 8.8 seconds studying any one person’s CV then it’s vital that you make that time count.

It’s the first impression a potential new employer will have of you so it’s important to get it right.

The key to writing a successful CV is to present your skills and experience in the best possible light. It’s not just a summary of your working history, it’s your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight your strengths and achievements. We would advise that you keep a good generic CV that you can tailor to each job you apply for.

How a CV is presented and received can vary in different industries. Progressive GE has 25 years of experience in placing candidates in the energy industry, and we have our own insider tips tailored just for you:

  1. Presentation is important: Don’t use ‘interesting’ fonts or colours. Keep it consistent and smart, using fonts such as Calibri, Ariel or Verdana in size 11 or 12, only use black font and underline or bold any titles like Project Engineer or Construction Supervisor that quickly draw the eye to your experience. Use clear headings and ensure your contact details are easy to find, at the top of the document.
  2. Be clear and concise: Don’t let your plus points get lost in unnecessary text. Try and keep your CV to two A4 pages and pick out a few key points for each section of your CV.
  3. Chronological or skills-based CV? In the energy industry we advise following a chronological CV template because employers are project-focused. They want to know where you’ve worked, for who, and what you did. Put your most recent project first, who the employer was, and highlight key responsibilities.
  4. Highlight specifics: Make sure you include vital information in CV that chimes with the job spec. If the role is abroad make sure you highlight your international experience or if you’ve worked in a specific location that is applicable to the role being advertised. Maybe the contract doesn’t have a fixed term in which case show how you’ve extended previous contracts and been flexible in other postings. Do you have language skills that make you especially suited for a role? Review your experience and don’t be shy about pulling out relevant specifics.
  5. Avoid common CV mistakes: Exaggerating skills, unexplained gaps in your CV, irrelevant information and spelling errors are big no-nos. Review your CV, ask a friend to proof read it and be honest about your skill set.
  6. Go online: Get your CV noticed online and upload here; complement your upload by updating your online networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, so that your profile mirrors your CV information.

CV checklist

Before you send out or upload your CV take a step back and run through our quick CV checklist. Remember your CV is one of your most valuable tools for opening doors and securing that all-important interview, so make sure it’s perfect before you release it to prospective employers.

  • Are my personal details up-to-date and easily visible?
  • Is it easy to read and well structured?
  • Do my most important skills and experience stand out?
  • Are the spelling and grammar correct?
  • Is my tone of voice appropriate?
  • Have I given a brief summary of the main duties and responsibilities for each of my previous roles?
  • Is the CV tailored to the job I am applying for?
  • Is there any irrelevant info? If yes, remove it.
  • Would I want to read it?
  • Have I included relevant keywords so employers and recruiters can find my CV online?