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20 Jan 2021

How To Write A Good CV

Your Curriculum Vitae is the key that unlocks the door to an interview. It should contain the information required to achieve that goal, and that is all!

Recruiters will make quick judgements as to whether to speak to you or not, based on the appearance of your CV as well as the content.  Don’t use fancy fonts, tables, and lots of different colours.  This is not a design exercise, but a factual document.  And bear in mind that agencies will probably forward your CV to employers in a standardised format – keeping your formatting as simple as possible will make for a neater conversion.

1.       Never use more than two or three pages: recruiters have to read through many CVs in one day.

2.       Preface the CV with a descriptive statement outlining your main attributes and technical skills.  Put accreditations and other professional qualifications and details of Visas held in bold, so that they can be spotted at once.

3.       Use this format:
Name (bold) and contact details, address and telephone numbers - as many as possible;  Sometimes the recruiter will want to get hold of you urgently, and if you are not contactable they will ring someone else - email address, and website url if you have one.
Personal details including date of birth, nationality and details of driving licence. Don’t list all your childrens’ names, ages and weights at birth! This is your CV.
Employment History with dates from and to, in reverse order, most recent position first.
Qualifications.  Omit early schooling.
Leisure interests - can be a useful insight into your personality, depending on what they are!

4.       Ensure all dates link up; leave no suspicious gaps. If you were out of work for a period, or travelling, include it as a stage in your career history.

5.       Write employer's name and location in bold type. People are often select for interview by the Recruiter identifying with companies that are known to them.

6.       Use your last title in each position, also in bold type.

7.       Briefly describe the companies' business if possible.

8.       Write no more than a few lines about the job content and responsibilities.  Employers want to see what technical skills you used in each role.  If appropriate, briefly show how you progressed from one position to the next. Include specific figures if possible ('In charge of 3 staff’; 'Sold 10 systems worth £100,000 each').  Highlight one or two achievements for each job.

9.       Under leisure interests, demonstrate breadth of character by mentioning varied interests. Don't fabricate interests you only partially hold as you may well be quizzed on them, particularly if the interviewer shares those interests. Don't worry the employer by listing ‘controversial’  interests (shooting, hunting, streaking). Keep the list short: one artistic, one sporting and one unusual interest.  Don't put 'socialising' - it is usually considered a euphemism for drinking!

10.   Best to say references will be provided on request. Some unscrupulous agencies use references to obtain names of contacts.

11.   Ensure all spelling is correct. Don't trust computer spell-checkers.

12.   Send your CV to the top recruiters in the industry (HTS!).  If you have dealt favourably with people before, make sure to give them a call, especially if they have ‘placed’ you before.  Of course, you could apply to any one of a number of professional CV writing services, but they are expensive and our advice would be to use the writer who knows you best – you!

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