CV Tips do’s & don’ts

CV Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

Your CV is your ‘calling card’, your first impression to prospective employers. It has to reflect who you are and what you can offer.

Here are some general rules for writing a good CV, we hope you find them useful.

The Do’s

Always…

  • Use shorter sentences. They are easy to scan, especially given that many recruiters have just 10 seconds to skim read.
  • Use standard fonts such as Arial – 11 or 12 point.
  • Check and re-check spelling and grammar. DO NOT rely on a spell checker!
  • Dates of employment should be easily found and consistent.
  • Lead with achievements, use active verbs and positive language.
  • Follow up all claims with proven examples; be quantitative as well as qualitative.
  • Use email addresses where referees are abroad.
  • Include awards or recognition received for work well done, together with professional memberships and relevant training.
  • Keep your CV honest, factual and to within three pages if possible.
  • Ensure every single line sells you at your best.
  • Prioritise relevant content.
  • Take ownership and use words such as Determined, Implemented, Created, Devised, Coordinated, and Conceived.
  • Include figures. e.g.: The precise number of staff you managed or the exact budget size.
  • Focus on what positive skills and experience you can offer the employer rather than just listing what you have done.
  • Ask trusted colleagues and friends if this is an accurate representation of you.
  • Seek feedback if you are not achieving any interviews. If you feel your CV is not reflecting you at your best seek external advice.


The Don’ts

Never…

  • Date your CV.
  • Put your irrelevant personal details first E.g.: date of birth and nationality.
  • Mention salaries.
  • Put your reason for leaving your last role, they WILL ask you at interview.
  • Include negative or irrelevant information.
  • Lie
  • Use Reverse Chronological format if you have many gaps between employments.
  • Put education first if it’s more than 10 years out of date.
  • List everywhere you have been employed since you started work.
  • Allocate the same space and emphasis to all positions regardless of relevancy to the role, prioritise the content.
  • Modify your CV for every single application unless you have a foolproof method of remembering to whom you sent which edition.
  • Use tables unless completely necessary.


Writing your CV

  • The CV’s primary objective is to attract a potential employer sufficiently to ask you to an interview.
  • A prospective employer will always take time to read a CV, provided it is concise and to the point, well laid out, honest, and relevant.
  • The following PDF link is an example of a professional layout, which will make it easy for a company to identify key facts about you when reading the document. Click on the link which can then be printed or saved. Click here.
  • It is vital that it creates a good impression; ideally, you need your CV to reflect accurately your personal circumstances. For example, if you do not have any formal qualifications, simply leave that section out.