CV Writing Tips
First impressions are everything. A clear and concise CV, tailored to the job you are applying for,
is paramount. We help all our candidates with their CVs – even if that’s simply as a second pair of eyes. But to get you started here’s our quick guide to a winning CV:
Layout & Structure
A winning first impression.
- Create a personal profile at the top of your CV which should include:
- your personal details: name, address, email etc.
- your key skills and specialisations (ensure these are tailored to the role you are applying for)
- qualifications and achievements
- if you are a technical specialist you may want to create a table outlining all of your skills, strengths and proficiency level
- Be consistent with your formats – the size of font (avoid going any lower than 10pt), any colours you may use to highlight key areas etc.
- Highlight achievements in bullet point style so they are easy for potential employers to pick out.
- List your experience chronologically starting with the most recent.
- Try to keep your CV between 2 and 3 pages long.
The importance of word power.
- Be positive. Always use positive words and language when describing yourself and your achievements. Make sure you sell yourself!
- Less is more. Keep your sentences short and use bullet-points. For example instead of writing “I have managed the budget for…” try writing “• managed budget for…”
- Check your spelling and grammar. There are no excuses for spelling mistakes or incorrect grammar. Any wiggly red or green lines left uncorrected show a lack of attention to detail.
- Tone of voice. Do not use slang or swear words. Keep it professional.
- Technical jargon. Make sure you use relevant and up to date terminology. However, do not overdo it as this can be confusing and even come across as pretentious.
- Write in the first person. You do not need to use “I or we”. It’s your CV; employers and recruiters will know it is about you.
- Keep your tenses consistent. If you are writing about your current job use the present tense. Any previous roles should be written in the past tense.
Do not put yourself on the back foot.
- Explain any gaps. Employment gaps in your CV without explanation can put a question mark around your employment and reliability. Make sure you explain these and be prepared for further questions regarding them. However, altering job dates to cover any gaps will probably end up back-firing with employers questioning your honesty.
- Keep it professional. Do not include irrelevant details such as religions and family life, etc. If they do not relate to the job they do not need to be there.
- No little white lies. Exaggerating or lying about your skills can, at best, cause an unpleasant situation when questioned about it in an interview. Furthermore if you secure the role, you’ll be expected to have that skill.
- Achievements. Rather than just listing your responsibilities, make sure you list your accomplishments so that potential employers can see what you could bring to the business.
- Is the structure clear and the layout and easy to read?
- Are your relevant skills and experience clearly highlighted?
- Are all your personal and contact details up to date?
- Are there any spelling and grammar errors?
- Is the CV tailored to the job you are applying for?
- Is there a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements for each role?
- Have you included any irrelevant information? If so, remove it.
- Is the tone of voice appropriate?
- Would you want to read it?
For further help, feel free to call one of our specialists.