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!
What's the difference between a CV and resume?
The term “CV” comes from the Latin expression Curriculum Vitae, which means “the course of life.” A traditional CV is a one page document that summarises an applicant’s employment history, past experience, and credentials. CVs are most often used in the United Kingdom, but are also used in the United States as a more inclusive form of a resume in academic or medical fields. An American CV lists all scholarly credentials, professional employment, published work, and significant accomplishments.
An American resume resembles a CV in the United Kingdom; it includes the same information and has a similar format. As a rule of thumb, printed resumes are limited to one page while digital resumes can be slightly longer to include all necessary information. A resume is ultimately a marketing tool that is used to entice employers to extend an interview, not a job offer.