If you want to land a top job, a speculative application can be the perfect way to side-step the competition and get an interview quickly.
So, we have created an example Speculative CV to inspire you, along with detailed guidance on how to create your own professional CV, that will hook recruiters and get you hired.
- Speculative CV example
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
Speculative CV example
This is a good example of a Speculative CV which contains all of the information that a hiring manager will need to know, and presents it in a well- structured, easy-to-read manner.
Take some time to study and understand this CV, and refer to it throughout the writing of your own CV for best results.
Speculative CV structure and format
If you focus purely on the written content of your CV but ignore the style and layout, your efforts could end up wasted.
No matter how suitable you are for the role, no recruiter wants to spend time squinting and trying to navigate a badly designed and disorganised CV.
Instead, make sure to organise your content into a simple structure and spend some time formatting it for ease of reading – it will ensure every recruiter and hiring manager can read your CV with ease.
- Length: Think that submitting a five page CV will impress recruiters? You’re wrong! Even if you’ve got tons of experience to brag about, recruiters don’t have time to read through overly detailed CVs. Keep it short, concise and relevant – a CV length of 2 sides of A4 pages or less is perfect.
- Readability: Columns, lists, bullet points, bold text and subtle colour can all help to aid the readability of your CV. Your overarching goal should be to make the content as easy to read and navigate as possible, whilst also aiming to make your key skills and achievements stand out.
- Design: The saying ‘less is more’ couldn’t be more applicable to CVs. Readability is key, so avoid overly complicated designs and graphics. A subtle colour palette and easy-to-read font is all you need!
- Avoid photos: If your CV has photos, images or profile pictures, hit the delete button. They’re not needed and won’t add any value to your applications.
Structuring your CV
As you write your CV, divide and sub-head into the following sections:
- Name and contact details – Always start with these, so employers know exactly how to get in touch with you.
- CV profile – Add a short summary of your relevant experience, skills and achievements, which highlights your suitability.
- Core skills section – A 2-3 columned list of your key skills.
- Work experience – A detailed list of any relevant work experience, whether paid or voluntary.
- Education – An overview of your academic background and any training you may have completed.
- Hobbies and interests – A brief overview of your hobbies and interests, if they’re relevant (optional).
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Start off your CV with a basic list of your contact details.
Here’s what you should include:
- Mobile number
- Email address – It’s often helpful to make a new email address, specifically for your job applications.
- Location – Share your town or city; there’s no need for a full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Make sure the information on them is coherent with your CV, and that they’re up-to-date
Quick tip: Delete excessive details, such as your date of birth or marital status. Recruiters don’t need to know this much about you, so it’s best to save the space for your other CV sections.
Speculative CV Profile
This is a short introduction paragraph which summarises your skills, knowledge and experience.
It should paint you as the perfect match for the job description and entice recruiters to read through the rest of your CV.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: Recruiters have piles of CVs to read through and limited time to dedicate to each, so it pays to showcase your abilities in as few words as possible. 3-4 lines is ideal.
- Tailor it: Recruiters can spot a generic, mass-produced CV at a glance – and they certainly won’t be impressed! Before you write your profile (and CV as a whole), read through the job advert and make a list of any skills, knowledge and experience required. You should then incorporate your findings throughout your profile and the rest of your CV.
- Don’t add an objective: Leave your career objectives or goals out of your profile. You only have limited space to work with, so they’re best suited to your cover letter.
- Avoid cliches: If there’s one thing that’ll annoy a recruiter, it’s a clichè-packed CV. Focus on showcasing your hard skills, experience and the results you’ve gained in previous roles, which will impress recruiters far more.
What to include in your Speculative CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Recruiters will want to know what type of companies you’ve worked for, industries you have knowledge of, and the type of work you’ve carried out in the past, so give them a summary of this in your profile.
- Relevant skills: Employers need to know what skills you can bring to their organisation, and ideally they want to see skills that match their job vacancy. So, research your target roles thoroughly and add the most important skills for your speculative application, to your profile.
- Essential qualifications: If the jobs you are applying to require candidates to have certain qualifications, then you must add them in your profile to ensure they are seen by hiring managers.
Quick tip: Even the best of writers can overlook typos and spelling mistakes. Whilst writing your CV, use a free writing assistant tool, such as Grammarly, to help you avoid any silly errors.
Core skills section
Underneath your profile, create a core skills section to make your most relevant skills jump off the page at readers.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points of your relevant skills.
Before you do this, look over the job description and make a list of any specific skills, specialisms or knowledge required.
Then, make sure to use your findings in your list. This will paint you as the perfect match for the role.
Work experience/Career history
By now, you’ll have hooked the reader’s attention and need to show them how you apply your skills and knowledge in the workplace, to benefit your employers.
So, starting with your most recent role and working backwards to your older roles, create a thorough summary of your career history to date.
If you’ve held several roles and are struggling for space, cut down the descriptions for your oldest jobs.
Structuring your roles
Your work experience section will be long, so it’s important to structure it in a way which helps recruiters to quickly and easily find the information they need.
Use the 3-step structure, shown in the below example, below to achieve this.
Provide a brief overview of the job as a whole, such as what the overriding purpose of your job was and what type of company you worked for.
Next up, you should write a short list of your day-to-day duties within the job.
Recruiters are most interested in your sector-specific skills and knowledge, so highlight these wherever possible.
Lastly, add impact by highlight 1-3 key achievements that you made within the role.
Struggling to think of an achievement? If it had a positive impact on your company, it counts.
For example, you might increased company profits, improved processes, or something simpler, such as going above and beyond to solve a customer’s problem.
Although there should be mentions of your highest and most relevant qualifications earlier on in your CV, save your exhaustive list of qualifications for the bottom.
If you’re an experienced candidate, simply include the qualifications that are highly relevant to Speculative roles.
However, less experienced candidates can provide a more thorough list of qualifications, including A-Levels and GCSEs.
You can also dedicate more space to your degree, discussing relevant exams, assignments and modules in more detail, if your target employers consider them to be important.
Interests and hobbies
The hobbies and interests CV section isn’t mandatory, so don’t worry if you’re out of room by this point.
However, if you have an interesting hobby, or an interest that could make you seem more suitable for the role, then certainly think about adding.
Be careful what you include though… Only consider hobbies that exhibit skills that are required for roles, or transferable workplace skills.
There is never any need to tell employers that you like to watch TV and eat out.
Writing your Speculative CV
An interview-winning CV for a Speculative role, needs to be both visually pleasing and packed with targeted content.
Whilst it needs to detail your experience, accomplishments and relevant skills, it also needs to be as clear and easy to read as possible.
Remember to research the role and review the job ad before applying, so you’re able to match yourself up to the requirements.
If you follow these guidelines and keep motivated in your job search, you should land an interview in no time.
Best of luck with your next application!