10 tips for writing the perfect CV

Often the first step to securing your next freelance or permanent job is your CV. Below we share 10 tips for writing the perfect CV – advice gathered from our recruiters after years in the industry, helping candidates get that all-important interview.

1. Include your contact information
If you can’t be contacted…well we don’t need to say anymore about this. Give a couple of options including your mobile and email address, as well as any social media/blog channels that demonstrate your expertise. Include your address so employers can see whether you are within commuting distance.

2. Communicate your information
Your CV is an advert of yourself and your career to date, not just a list of previous jobs. It’s important to highlight any major achievements – and if they can be converted into numbers, even better. Information that should feature on your CVincludes your education, qualifications, professional memberships, working history, achievements, languages and references. The upper middle area of the first page is where the readers eye will spend the most time, so this is a good place to put a summary or profile full of keywords relating to the role. Always use positive language and  jargon appropriate for the industry.

3. Tailor your CV to the job
Don’t send the same CV for every job you are applying for. Look at the job description, highlight the key points that are sought and ensure you include them in your experience to demonstrate you are the best candidate for the role.
4. Send a letter of application
Employers want to know that you are motivated – one of the best ways to get this across before you meet them face-to-face is to write down exactly why you want the job, why your previous experience makes you a great fit and differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants. Here you can highlight some softer skills such as communication, problem-solving and the different types of teams you have worked in.
5. Make it easy to read
Employers spend roughly 30 seconds initially scanning your CV – keep your CV simple and concise.

  • Stick to a font such as Arial, Verdana or Calibri
  • Use black for the font, with any URLS highlighted in blue
  • Use headings in bold to break up the content such as: Personal Details, Education, Work Experience
  • Use dates and double check the dates flow from one role to another, explaining very briefly any large gaps
  • Break up sections with appropriate use of white space
  • You want your prospective employer or recruiter to be able to open your CV, keep it simple and send it using a document type the majority of people can access. PDF is the most commonly used file, it also means the content cannot be changed by anyone else. Steer clear of docx. and image files

6. Try and keep it short
It is tempting to explain your whole employment history but the reader knows this is just a snap-shot. If you follow these ten tips, and are a good fit for the role, you can expand further in the interview. Wherever possible attempt to keep it to 2 sides of A4.
7. Tell the truth
No matter how much you want the position, it is important to remain true to yourself and not to lie on your CV. Your references will be checked out and there is no point taking a job that you are not suitable for, only to come unstuck once you start.

8. Check your spelling and grammar
Use a spell check and make sure you comb every sentence for mistakes, you need to be accurate and thorough in any role – read and re-read it.

9. Get someone else to review it
It is essential someone else looks over your CV before you send off your application. When you spend so long writing something it is difficult to see any mistakes or wording that simply does not make sense.

10. What not to include
Information that is not necessary includes your photo, date of birth, religion, family details and student jobs.

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