Tips for writing the perfect CV

Written by Catherine Nangle over 1 year ago.

Your CV is one of the most important documents of your career, so it’s crucial yours makes a strong impact on whoever reads it. We spoke to Amy Laidman, an experienced Resourcing Consultant who works in our team in Manchester, asking her for her thoughts on how to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

“Your CV is the earliest opportunity you have to make a great first impression to a potential employer. It’s your chance to showcase your skills and experiences that prove you’re the ideal person for the job. While there’s no strict formula for writing a CV, you can make sure yours is sending the message that you’re the perfect person for the job, by following these simple tips."

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 don’t scatter the information, keep it focused and concise.

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. 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 and 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.

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.

It’s also really important to be completely honest, for example it may seem easier not to include a redundancy on your job history; however this will always be brought to light with any future employer, so honesty is the best policy.

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.

Want more careers help and guidance?

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