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How to write a HR CV
Our guide explains how to write a CV for a HR role.
Step 1 : Study the job advert
The very first step when writing your HR CV is to study the job advert carefully and note down what is most important to this employer. Every employer is looking for something different so it’s important to tailor your CV every time you make an application.
If the advert is a little sparse on requirements, it can help to read through some job descriptions from the profession. Here are two examples from PM Jobs, the Official Job Site of the CIPD:
Step 2 : Provide adequate contact information
Your HR CV should contain the usual expected contact information : name, address, contact numbers and an email address.
In addition you may want to include professional social profile handles. Including these is a powerful way to signal to employers that (a) you’re really passionate about what you do, and (b) you’re building credibility within the HR industry.
LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile can really bolster your CV because you can add more detail about past roles, experience and achievements. In addition, you can provide a more comprehensive list of contributions / commentary that you’ve provided for industry publications. Find out more about building a killer LinkedIn profile here.
Twitter: Your Twitter profile can help demonstrate that you’re actively involved in your industry, commenting on relevant HR topics and sharing relevant articles.
Step 3 : Write a strong personal statement
We mentioned above that reading the job advert carefully before tailoring each CV was important. In particular, you should tailor your personal statement, setting out exactly how you meet the job specification. Employers typically spend just a few minutes on each CV, and the personal statement is often the first thing they’ll read.
The personal statement (or ‘personal profile’) should be 3 or 4 sentences long, introducing yourself and setting out how you’re perfect for the role.
“I am a HR Manager qualified to Level 5 CIPD. I have 5+ years’ experience at management level and a further 3 years as a HR Advisor. I have a strong history of effective talent acquisition and retention, together with a proven track record developing HR strategy, policies and processes. I am an excellent relationship builder with strong communication skills and experience in line management.”
Each statement should relate to some requirement set out in the job advert.
Step 4 : Provide an effective work history
In the UK the layout of your work history is typically in reverse chronological order – most recent first.
When writing about your professional experience, do focus on the details for each role you’ve had that match the job specification. For example, if the recruiter is looking to hire someone with extensive experience in drafting policies and you’ve done this in all of your roles, make sure you say so!
Do also list any specific tangible achievements. If you can’t give figures, use strong words on your CV such as “established”, “supervised” or “exceeded”. Find out more here about words to use on your CV.
Step 5 : Provide details of key skills
If the employer has requested key skills, make sure you know they have them. Where possible, you should offer evidence of how you’ve acquired or used these skills within the work history section. However, you may also want to list them separately to emphasise again that you meet their requirements.
Step 6 : Mention your professional memberships
Including details of your professional memberships not only shows professional accreditation, but also demonstrates an interest in the HR industry.
Step 7 : Consider whether you really need a hobbies and interests section
Don’t include hobbies and interests unless they add value to your CV.
If your interests are entirely unrelated to your work – going to the cinema, long walks on the beach etc – there is little point including them, particularly if you’re struggling for space.
If, however, you have limited work experience, this section can be useful for demonstrating key skills. For example, if you’re the captain or coach for a local sports team, this would help demonstrate your ability to lead and motivate.
- DO use a professional HR CV template like the free Microsoft Word download offered on this page. A high quality template gives you a stylish design without any effort on your part! It also ensures you get the right format for your CV and it makes CV writing much easier.
- DO look at HR CV examples like the samples we have provided on this site. You will see what to include on a CV and how to write a good CV that stands out from the pile. However, don’t copy them word-for-word – some employers do scan their applications for plagiarism.
- DON’T waste valuable space on providing the contact details of references, unless you’re struggling to fill up your CV or you have particularly impressive references to offer. The employer will ask for references anyway if they want to hire you.
- DON’T go over the usual two-page limit that is typical for a UK CV. The hiring manager only has a limited amount of time to read through each submission, and won’t be impressed by pages and pages of text. The best CVs give employers the information they need in a concise and easy-to-read format. Use your LinkedIn profile if you want to offer more detail.
- DO use headings and bullet points like our HR CV example. It is extremely difficult for prospective employers to scan through large blocks of text and they may miss key points that would have otherwise got you an interview.
Originally published 07/05/2020.