How to Write a Good CV

Advice and Guidance on CV Writing

In many cases your CV is the only thing a recruiter or potential employer has to identify you by, therefore it is really important to get it right. A good CV is way more than just a list of the jobs that you’ve had; it’s a business case for why a company should hire you. The more compelling you can make it, the higher the probability of you making it to interview.

Your CV should be in an easy to read font such as; Arial, Verdana or Calibri. Bullet points work better than large blocks of text and appropriate use of white space will improve layout and readability.

Make sure you are easy to reach! You could be absolutely perfect for the role but if your contact details aren’t on your CV then your application is unlikely to progress. Include telephone number, email address and postal address, and make sure they’re up-to-date.

Your Professional Summary outlines your 4 most relevant key skills. Keep it to 6 or seven lines. This section should be specifically tailored to the job that you are applying for. The Professional Summary is the ideal place to use a sales technique called ‘features and benefits selling’; set out each key skill and then explain why it is of use in the role that you’re applying for. It’s important that you list actual deliverable skills not clichéd behavioural traits like being a ‘good communicator’ or ‘working well in teams’.

Your Education and Work History should be listed in reverse chronological order. Education should be before work history on your CV until you have over two years of relevant experience at which point it should be entered below your work history. In the Education section you should list the institution attended and qualifications obtained - it is entirely at your discretion if you wish to add the dates.

In the Work History section you should include job title, company worked for, dates employed, and a description of your role. Use this opportunity to highlight your professional achievements, and if possible include metrics; if you exceeded your targets by 25% then say so! Jobs which are not relevant to the post you are applying for can have condensed entries although do make sure you still include them so that your career doesn’t look like it’s full of gaps. If you’re a contractor who has worked a number of short term contracts it’s important to state that so it doesn’t appear that you’ve been ‘job hopping’.

Adding an ‘Additional Skills’ or ‘Interests’ section allows you to add a little bit about yourself that is not linked to any of your work history or education. This can be anything from foreign languages to IT skills.

For your References it is perfectly acceptable to simple put ‘References available on request’. If you particularly want to put references it is important to make the referee aware that you are naming them as such.

Things not to do on your CV;

  • Do not make spelling or grammatical errors
  • Do not put on your salary requirements
  • Do not lie – you will get caught out!
  • Do not mention why you left previous jobs

For more information regarding CV writing, or to take advantage of our CV writing service, contact us.

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