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Writing an Evidence Based CV

When an employer reads your CV they are looking for evidence that you can do the job that you have applied for, and that you can do it well. It is essential therefore that your CV provides them with such evidence.

The problem is that many job seekers describe themselves on their CV in ways that cannot be proved. It is very easy to say that you are a hard working, reliable team player, but unless you provide evidence to back it up, it is a meaningless statement. It tells the employer nothing very little because they do not know just how true it is.

The evidence on your CV is contained within three separate sections- your Profile, your Key Achievements and your Career History.

Your CV should begin with a profile of no more than 3 or 4 sentences which encapsulate all the evidence you will be setting out further down in your CV. In other words, your profile should give an impression of who you are and what you can do, by saying things about you which are provable.

Start with a sentence which includes the job title you are applying for and gives an indication of your level of experience. For example “7 years experience as a data analyst in an e-commerce environment.”

Then write a sentence that outlines your skills and work styles- all of which will be demonstrated later on in your CV through the achievements you will list. For example, “proven experience of working within environments with a diverse data landscape, to understand and document data integration and data quality requirements”. If necessary write a second sentence detailing more specific technical skills in which you are experienced.

Finally, write a sentence which describes you in personal terms. E.g. “Wide range of personal interests including scuba diving, team sports and gaming”.

A profile like this gives the employer or recruiter far more relevant information about you than the more general statements they normally see. But you now need to make sure that the rest of your CV backs us the claims you have made. You do this by describing your achievements.

Many people, when writing their career history describe the company they worked for and their range of responsibilities. But all this does is to tell the reader what you were supposed to do. It doesn’t tell them what you actually accomplished. So, rather than describing your previous jobs, list out your key achievements in each one. Wherever possible, quantify what you have done, for example stating the number of people you managed or the amount of revenue you generated.

Your career history section should there be a list of the jobs you have done with your key achievements in each. Normally, you should not need anything else.  But do make sure that these achievements provide the evidence for the statements you have made in your profile. In fact, you may find it easier to write the achievements first, and then adapt the profile to reflect them.

Finally, when you have listed our achievements and written your profile, pull out three or four of your most notable achievements and place them in a separate section headed “Key Achievements”, just below your profile.

You will now have an evidence based CV- one which will be far more effective in helping you to get the job you want.