Writing a Food Industry CV

Top 10 CV Do's

1. When describing your experience use a confident tone and positive language. Use positive words to start each sentence, such as initiated, improved, introduced, developed, negotiated, established, created, pioneered, delivered, increased, reduced, saved etc. This also helps to ensure that you’re substantiating your skills and value with evidence.

2. Concentrate on your Achievements not your Responsibilities. This means listing things you have done – such as, a product launched, an efficiency gain, a new sales account opened, an award won. To demonstrate how your employer benefitted by your actions, quote percentage improvements and financial gains. Again, this substantiates the value you could bring to a new employer.

3. Encourage the individual reviewing your CV to 'read on'. Ensure you put the most salient points on the first page of your CV, such as your greatest successes and achievements and proven examples of how you have used your skills to benefit the companies you have worked for.

4. Concentrate on the 'quality' of your achievements and not the 'quantity'. Don’t hold anything back from the CV if it is relevant but make sure that your achievements are 'fantastic' and not generic.. the type of stuff that is written on many CV's. To get the readers attention, typically a CV should contain 10 fantastic achievements covering the main successes in your career.

5. Rise above the competition. Make sure you include other added-value skills that could set you apart from other candidates, such as Languages and Digital or IT skills.

6. Keep to the point. By cutting out the bland and generic you should be able to keep your CV to a maximum of three pages. Even very senior, experienced executives with long careers behind them should be able to do this. 

7. Check, check and check again. Check thoroughly for correct spelling and grammar – spotting errors is a quick and easy way of weeding out weaker candidates when faced with a mountain of CVs. Don’t just rely on your computers spellchecker but get someone else to proof it – you may have spelt a word correctly but used it in the wrong place.

8. Use relevant keywords that will be picked up by Automation and Artificial Intelligence. With posts advertised through job boards, keywords are entered into databases to find the most relevant jobseekers without having to trawl through 1000s of CV's. These keywords will include specific technical skills like BRC or qualifications like ACCA or specific job titles like ‘NPD Technologist’. To ensure your CV is found, make sure your CV mirrors the language used in job adverts and the industry in general.

9. Capture immediate attention. Prioritise the content of your CV and detail the most relevant information first. Start with a hard-hitting personal profile that avoids clichés such as ‘hard-working', 'team player', 'excellent communication skills’. Make sure that all your career history is punchy and details qualified and quantified successes.

10. Graduates should expand on their qualifications. With a lack of work experience, graduates need to tell the reader more about their degree other than just the modules taken. Show successes you have had in your project work and dissertations and other extracurricular activities you have undertaken. More experienced jobhunters should just put their degree details on page two with the university they attended, the subject and grade attained.

Top 10 CV Dont's

1. Expand the truth. The bigger the lie on a CV the more likely you are to get found out. Employers are not fooled by creative embellishments and if you do manage to get a job based on this you could be 'let go' pretty quickly which won’t look good on your CV.

2. List everything. An employer really doesn’t need or want to know all the one-day training courses you have been on. Keep information relevant and to the point.

3. Include a photo. No matter how attractive you make yourself look, it will not improve your chances. This tends to be popular in other European countries but isn’t favoured by the majority of UK businesses.

4. Get creative. Don’t use elaborate fonts and colours to make your CV stand out. The more gimmicky you make your CV using different shapes and pictures, the more off-putting it will be to an employer. It will also make it more difficult for you to upload your CV to Job boards.

5. Divulge sensitive information. Full Address is fine but never include your National Insurance Number, Passport Number, Bank Details or any other sensitive personal information on your CV.

6. Think one size fits all. Have two or three versions of your CV and make the application with the most appropriate CV. There may be more than one type of role you are interested in, so it maximises your opportunity to be called in for interview if you tailor a CV to demonstrate your relevant skills for specific types of job. Also, a lot of applications are made online with a CV and no cover letter. Don't fall into this trap as a strong covering letter tailored carefully for each position demonstrates you have taken the time to think about your application and are therefore genuinely interested in the position. This can separate you from the crowd.

7. Talk about me, me, me. Don’t start each sentence with "I did..." Instead use phrasing such as ‘Selected to manage the companies annual packaging spend of £1 million and successfully re-negotiated with suppliers, resulting in a 15% (£150k) saving'.

8. Talk in clichés. Phrases such as ‘I am a highly motivated individual who works well on my own or in a team, with exceptional communication skills and the ability to work under pressure to produce results under tight deadlines’ are dull and the employer has heard them all before. Make yourself stand out with carefully worded phrasing that is factual and captures the employer’s attention.

9. Duplicate applications. Some recruiters and employers have systems that handle multiple applications from the same person, but for those that don’t, remember it is most off-putting to receive five CVs from the same person and for the same job.

10. Expect the recruiter or employer to be a mind reader. If you are able to perform in the job, explain how in your CV and cover letter. Don’t expect the employer to read between the lines to work out whether you have the capability and experience to do the job. 


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