If you’re about to begin the search for a new job, your CV will be your single most important asset – besides yourself of course!
A prospective employer is likely to have numerous CVs to review, so it’s imperative that yours stands out and impresses them enough to want to meet you in person. You may have all the right qualifications and skills, and be perfect for the role, but if your CV is not presented in the right way, it is likely to be passed over.
Top tips to keep in mind when writing your CV
- Keep it simple and don’t make it unnecessarily complicated. Your CV has just a few seconds to get noticed, so if it does not communicate the essential information immediately, it risks being consigned to the bin.
- Avoid using humour.
- Never disrespect former employers.
- Use good quality A4 paper.
- Never attach additional documents, letters or certificates - save these for your interview.
- Thoroughly check your CV to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. It’s always a good idea to ask a friend or family member to double check it for you too.
- Always be honest. There’s no point in trying to ‘disguise’ periods of unemployment as these will inevitably be uncovered in checks.
- Be sure to follow all instructions as set out in the job advertisement – for example, if you are requested to submit multiple copies of your CV.
- Customise your covering letter, tailoring your skills to the position you’re applying for. For more on this see our candidate resource document ‘Writing a cover letter’.
- Be sure to get it in on time!
How long should a CV be?
While there are no set rules dictating how long a CV can be, you should ideally try to keep it to one page – but if doing this makes it look cramped, there’s no reason you shouldn’t just use two sheets. The length of your own CV will depend on your personal career history, education and achievements.
How should you layout your CV?
Everyone has a different theory when it comes to CV design. Don't get too concerned about this, just make sure everything is clearly marked. Include your career progression, education and achievements prominently so your prospective employer doesn’t have to search for key information.
Here is a suggested format:
- Personal details
- Name, address and contact details.
- Personal profile
- To include an outline of your skills, experience and immediate career goals.
- Career history
- Set this out in reverse chronological order, going back over the previous 10 years (if this is applicable), giving a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements in each position.
- Education & qualifications
- Interests & personal information