What is good writing?

I listened to a podcast this week featuring design and craft guru, Jane Audas talking about the practice of writing. [Listen here]

Jane writes across a diverse range of international print and digital platforms including blogging, books, journalism, reviews and articles and as she was talking, I realised that the best practice she spoke of translates directly into good CV writing.

Here are my top 5 takeaways from her talk:

1.     Don’t just list the facts. No-one likes ‘dry’ writing 

2.     Have an opinion – don’t be generic, be you. Capturing who you are and your knowledge will separate you out (in a good way) from other people with similar experience

3.     Data points are essential but don’t get bogged down in detail

4.     Keep it understandable to someone who doesn’t know the intricacies of your specialism or workplace culture 

5.     Express your passion. Bring your experience to life. Create a picture that your reader can understand and connect with 

The other big takeaway from the podcast was readability and how your writing sounds. Like Jane, I always read my work out loud to myself to see if what I’ve drafted comes to life and makes sense. And I encourage my clients to do the same, whether it’s their CV or cover letter. As Jane says:

“If it doesn’t flow when I speak it, then it doesn’t flow when people read it.”

Reading out loud is a good way to sense check your CV and see how you come across. I also have an editor, someone who reads and corrects what I write, not just for grammar but for ‘flow’. 

It’s vital when writing a CV to get someone else to read it and give you feedback.

Writing CVs, it’s astonishing how we get attached to certain phrases and use company-specific vocabulary that could be made so much clearer if we asked for objective feedback and an external perspective. That’s where a friend, mentor or trusted colleague comes in.

Keep asking yourself and your other reader (or readers): “Is this clear? Does it make sense?” and keep editing until the answer is a resounding YES!

If you’d like some help to write a clear, compelling CV, then why not get in touch and see where a session of CV Therapy can take you?

You can keep up with Jane’s passions, quirks and quibbles on Twitter @janeaudas

Email louise@careertherapy.co.uk
Linkedin Louise Newton
Photo Volodymyr Hryschenko on Unsplash

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