Remember this is the way you package and ‘market’ yourself.   It forms the Reader’s first impression of you.  If it is badly presented, it doesn’t matter how good the content is, the reader will just not get that far!  You should not under estimate the influence your CV can provide.

A badly written CV may prevent you from getting an introduction/interview in the first instance and can put you on the back foot if you do get an interview.  Lazy CVs can be spotted a mile off.  A well written and thought out CV will not only get you the interview but will give you a strong head start and an 'employable edge' of over candidates.  Make sure your CV fully reflects your experience and the skills you have to offer.   Make it personal to you; it’s your calling card and differentiates you from everyone else, demonstrating the value YOU can add.

Remember – CVs are all about setting yourself apart from all the other CVs that the Reader will be reviewing. You need to make your CV distinctive and personal to your career, with evidence of your own success stories, career highlights and achievements.  A CV that just lists a Job Description tells the Reader nothing in relation to what you have to offer a potential employer and the difference you can make over the next Candidate.

When updating your CV, pull out performance reviews, KPI reviews, appraisals, reports written by you, projects worked on etc.  You may have a blank mind to start with, but once you read over these documents and start thinking in this way, the content will just flow! The CV is all about providing evidence of what you have achieved and how you can add value in your next role. 

There are 3 elements to a great CV – content , presentation and personal achievement. 


CV Presentation

Write a resume – not a novel, keep it short, interesting and concise.  Make it easy to read

Bullet points work well, keep sentences short.  Avoid long paragraphs – readers will switch off

Keep it to 2 – 3 pages; keep it simple, factual and easy to read.  3 pages of clearly set out text is far more engaging that 2 pages of waffle

First impressions count and presentation is everything – make it look slick and professional, and most importantly – easy to read and error free.  Check formatting and spelling and grammar.  (On email  attachments, make sure any coloured grammatical or spelling underlinings inserted by Microsoft Word have been corrected or removed)

Font size 10 or 11 is industry standard

Use a confident tone and positive language

Date – record the months you started / left an employer as well as the year.

Not necessarily to provide a photo, nor date of birth.


CV Content

Don't be afraid to "boast" about your successes

Personal Details – ensure all current contact details are correct and easy to find

Ensure all of the most pertinent information is on the front page

Not necessary to include all personal details like names of children, ages, and every exam and training course you’ve attended. 

Personal intro does not need to be a surfeit of gushing adjectives (like reliable, hardworking, etc – this can be disputed!).  Keep it factual and a precis of your career and experience. A short paragraph should suffice. (Ie “10 progressive years in the food industry, primarily chilled foods” – cannot be disputed!)

Work History - start with your current or most recent job and then work backwards.  Ensure this is prominent on the front page as this is typically the first thing Readers will look for

Leave hobbies and extracurricular activities towards the end.  Keep it brief

You don’t need to identify your referees

‘The more recent – the more relevant’ – more info is required for more recent experience, less info less recent roles, although don’t be afraid to promote career highlights throughout your career.  I prefer to see career highlights detailed in the relevant part of the CV – it provides better context as opposed to a list of random highlights, listed at the top of the CV.

Avoid buzzword and clichés – it’s a turnoff

Don’t lie – you will get caught out.  Avoid misleading or confusing statements

Explain lengthy gaps in your career history 

Get someone else to proof read it – others will pick up on errors you’ve missed

Avoid the obvious, eg if you’re a Factory Manager, then of course you will have responsibility for the factory!  Use this space to promote your achievements as a Factory Manager, scope/dimension of your responsibilities and the positive impact you made in this role. 

Avoid negativity, humour (not everyone gets it), and controversial aspects

Include any professional memberships, affiliations or appointments

If you held multiple roles within the same company – list each and the dates


CV – Experience and Achievement

Personalise your CV. Set your CV apart from other similar CVs with your achievements and own success stories.  Why you are different?  What can you offer, over and above the next Candidate?  Quantify achievements where possible, to demonstrate improvements and accomplishments.

Don’t take it for granted that readers will be familiar with each of your employers (very briefly describe each business.  This gives the role context).  Provide dimensions of the role where possible (eg number of staff reporting in, throughputs, number of lines responsible for).

Include all your career success stories and achievements relevant to:

        - KPI improvement

        - Project work

        - Increased revenues

        - Cost savings

        - Increased efficiencies and productivity

        - Increased sales / management of growth

        - Budgetary responsibilities

        - Dimensions of role / structure

        - Bottom line impact

        - Commercial / Customer contact and liaison

        - Awards, recognition, success stories


CV - Other Useful Facts

For an attachment, use MS Word (.doc, docx) – most people can open these documents easily.  PDF documents are good for presentation (but have a version available in word).

Common errors: -copied job descriptions, spelling mistakes, poor grammar, overkill, boring CVs (try and avoid a look-a-like CV), clichés, tiresome detail, management waffle – too wordy, no facts, no achievements, cluttered, difficult to read fonts. 

Don’t be afraid to tailor your CV to suit the role you’re applying for.  Bring out relevant experience related to the role you are applying for.  Don’t sell yourself short.

You don’t need to include your date of birth, gender, place of birth, nationality, driving licence

Spell check! Grammar check!

There is no right or wrong with this, just apply common sense.

Remind your self of CVs you’ve read when interviewing yourself – what you liked about CVs, how long you read them for, what caught your attention, what turned you off. Common sense will always prevail.

Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.  This is a marketing tool after all, designed to do exactly that! 


And Finally

Keep it up to date – you never know when you’ll need it . . .

Remember where you saved it !

If you would like some advice on updating your CV, SUBMIT YOUR CV HERE and one of our consultants will be in touch.