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Tips for writing the perfect CV

Posted by Alex Heron, about 1 year ago

4 min read

Your CV is your earliest opportunity to impress a potential employer, so it’s essential that you get it right. But how do you know if your CV is up to the job? Just follow these simple tips of what to include (and what not to include) to ensure your CV is helping you put your best foot forward

As one of our CV experts Pav Bassi says:

“A CV is your ticket to securing your next career move or even landing the job of your dreams! A CV is essentially a selling tool which will effectively highlight why you are the best candidate for that role.”

Presentation is key

When a recruiting manager looks at your CV, the first thing they’ll notice is how it’s presented. Keep the font small around size 10 or 11 and use simple fonts like ‘Calibri’ or ‘Arial’ which appear clean and professional; don’t be tempted to try to put all the information on one page using a tiny font size!

The headings should be simple and to the point. Remember to only put relevant information under each heading instead of scattering it everywhere. Also try to keep each section focused and to the point. This will all make your CV easier to read and understand.

Keep your CV to no more than 2 pages (3 is acceptable if you have a lot of important information), you want to be relevant and to the point, employers will be looking at lots of CVs in one day, so you want to make sure they can see the relevant details on yours as quickly as possible.

Contact information do’s and don’ts

At the top of the first page you don’t need to write ‘CV’ because the employer already knows what they’re reading. However, make sure you write your full name at the top as an over-all title, so it stands out on the page. Include a current address, a phone number you’re easily contactable on, and a suitable, professionally named email address.

Personal Profile

Write in 1st or 3rd person (just make sure you stick with this throughout!), and make sure you point to your strengths and skills that are relevant to the job. Tell the employer what skills you have, and where you want to develop in terms of new abilities. Try and keep this to 50 words and under, using strong verbs that’ll draw employers in.

An example would be: ‘A dedicated customer service professional, with strong communication and administration skills, looking to develop his interpersonal and listening skills in a sales-driven environment’.

Work experience

List your work experience with the most recent first, and include bullet pointed information about your responsibilities, and the skills you’ve gained. List specific achievements and any statistics in order to back these up, and aim to include no more than six bullet points so that you’re focusing on the big, important aspects of the role. It’s also essential you’re able to explain any gaps in your work experience, with dates and short explanations.

Educational information and professional qualifications

Keep the most recent details at the beginning, and if you have a long educational history, don’t feel like it’s necessary to include everything (for example all of your GCSEs and their results) unless you think it supports your application. You can also include acronyms such as ‘BSc (Hons)’ after your name.

What to highlight

You could consider adding a link to your LinkedIn profile if you feel it supports your CV, however, be careful adding other social media profiles like Twitter if there’s no supporting information on them.

Tailor your CV to include all the relevant skills and experience you have gained that align with the skills required for the specific career you are interested in. Look out for keywords used in the job description and ensure you include these where relevant in your CV.

Ensure you add any specific qualifications or certifications you have acquired to your CV. Our recruiters will often look out for these specifically and these can really help you standout!

It’s also really important to be completely honest with employers, for example if you have taken a career break, been made redundant or voluntarily resigned, these are all things that need to be specified on your CV.

Our Talent Community

Getting your CV right will also support you in the long-term as you can join our Talent Community to keep up-to date with roles and opportunities you may be interested in, directly sent to you.

We hold potential candidate records for approximately 2 years so it’s essential to make sure that your CV is up-to date. Make sure you update your CV regularly to stay in our Talent Community and to continue receiving notifications from us.

What to avoid

You don’t need to put your date of birth, next of kin details or any long referencing details, as this information will be needed later down the line after you’re considered for an interview.

Avoid oversharing sensitive and personal data. Information such as your gender, marital status, and race is not relevant and will not assist your application progress as recruiters will look at your skills and experience only. Therefore, do not include this information as it will be disregarded.

Additional supporting information

If it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, then any outside interests such as community work in a leadership position are fine to mention. You can also add some relevant hobbies in this section as an icebreaker.

Check your CV, then check again

Once you’ve completed your CV, proof read it! This is really important, as one spelling or grammatical mistake could cost you an interview. Get someone to look over it and give you some feedback to make sure it reads well. It’s really easy to get tunnel-vision when you’ve been looking at the same document for a long time, so a second pair of eyes will help you find the things you might’ve missed!

And finally, once you feel confident that you have added all the essential and necessary information it is time to submit your CV! We wish you all the best in your career search!

For more career tips see our blogs here.

Register to join our Talent Community and submit your CV to get notified of any potential job vacancies you might be interested in!

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