Follow these few steps to dramatically improve the quality of your CV:
- Keep it simple, uncluttered and in an easy-to-read font (on plain white A4 paper)
- Remove any unnecessary details (don't write lines upon lines for your interests)
- Ensure there are no spelling/grammatical errors; ask someone to proof read it
- Keep your email address professional. We often see addresses, such as "email@example.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org" - this will not help present a professional reflection of you. Consider obtaining a free email account from providers, including GMAIL and keep job application emails separate from personal email
- Check your personal / contact details. This sounds obvious, but we often review CVs with missing / incorrect phone numbers
- Compare your CV against any job specifications / descriptions you have to ensure relevant skills are highlighted
- Believe it or not, there is no such thing as a perfect CV. Just concentrate on making use of the CV design that suits you best; chronological, functional or a combination of the two
...but what should my CV include?
- Education details - you don't need to include all your qualifications from 10 years ago. State your most recent qualifications and briefly cover older, less relevant ones
- Work experience: most recent first and go backwards; unless using a functional CV
- Key skills/areas of expertise: such as IT skills or languages
- Extra-curricular activities (if relevant to job being applied for)
- If you are sending your CV by post, ensure you use an A4 envelope and do not fold your CV - by the time it gets to its destination it could look a mess
What Should I Leave Out of My CV?
- Photos In the UK, the only people who should include a photo on their CV are models and actors / actresses. Please note: some other countries do require photos. Contact us if you are unsure as to whether you should use a photo.
- References - these are requested on an application form / later stage of an application.
- Extensive academic information - we often see clients who include every GCSE and grade but have 10 years employment experience. Unless your qualifications are recent, a brief overview is fine.
- Reasons for leaving a job - this sort of information is not needed on a CV and can potentially be looked upon negatively.
- Salary information - again, not needed.
- Unnecessary personal information - date of birth and nationality is fine but areas such as weight, religion and health is not needed.
- Industry-specific terminology / jargon - we covered this in CV writing mistakes but thought it deserved another mention!
How do you write a CV personal statement?
A Personal Statement (often referred to as a personal profile) should be used to showcase what personal skills you offer in a short, punchy paragraph at the start of your CV.
When compiling your Personal Statement, try to satisfy the requirements stipulated in the people / job specification for which you are applying. We find it is easier to write a personal statement last; noting down some of your career highlights and key skills while writing the rest of your CV.
Avoid clichÃ©d phrases such as, "works well in a team or alone", and unquantifiable skills, such as "good time management skills" as these are seen in 90% of CVs and will only reduce your chances of selection. Your Personal Statement should be used to demonstrate what makes you different from other candidates.
How Many Pages Should a CV Be?
You've probably been told not to exceed two pages. However, there is no set limit. As a guideline: a one page CV is normally enough for a graduate or someone with a limited career history. A two-three page CV is about average length.
Obviously, the length of your CV depends upon your level and your career history - an executive CV will no doubt have many more pages than a recent graduate.
Where do I include personal information?
A common mistake to make with your CV is to list all your personal information: height, weight, place of birth etc. This information is irrelevant and will take up much-needed room for other, more relevant information. It is a good idea to include your date of birth, nationality, marital status and if you hold a driving licence at the bottom of the CV - not at the top!