CV guidance

Your CV needs to grab the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager immediately. Some roles receive hundreds of applications and each CV may only be scanned briefly before a decision is made on its relevance.

Make your CV easy to read, well formatted and concise. Your CV should be tailored to each job application and how you meet the criteria highlighted as early in the document as possible. There is no reason for a CV to be badly formatted or contain grammatical or spelling mistakes.

Key Points:

  • A personal profile paragraph can be effective but keep it to a few sentences and make it relevant and personal – don’t use generic phrases such as ‘good team player’, ‘dynamic agent of change’ etc as they don’t mean anything.
  • Use a sensible, professional font e.g. Calibri, Arial or similar – and don’t use more than one font throughout the document.
  • Put your employment and education in reverse chronological order – latest first.
  • Portray yourself as positively as possible – be truthful but don’t be modest.
  • Try and keep it to 2 – 3 pages. Although it’s good to be concise, ensure you fully document your relevant experience for the position. Do not assume the reader will know your capabilities from your job title.
  • Bullet points are preferable to paragraphs of text.
  • Highlight and if possible quantify achievements e.g. implemented cost saving measures, which increased profitability by 10%.
  • If your academic record isn’t strong put your education details after the career history part of your CV – if your experience is good the reader will have a positive image of you by the time they read your exam results and will not attach as much weight to them
  • If emailing your CV then Word is always preferred
  • Don’t print your photograph on the CV – rarely flattering, never recommended. Only include a photograph if an employer asks for one.
  • Avoid making your CV a series of generic job descriptions that could apply to anyone – you need to describe your duties (briefly) but focus on the differences you have made.
  • Do not leave gaps in your career history
  • Generally avoid any information that allows the reader to make a non-professional judgment about you – this is particularly true in the hobbies and interests part of the CV.
  • Don’t include hobbies and interests at all if they are of the ‘reading, walking, cooking’ variety. Listing what for most people are normal activities of daily life does not add depth or colour to the CV.
  • Spell check the document and ensure it is grammatically correct.
  • Proof read it thoroughly