How to Make a Good CV
Your CV is your key tool and method of being noticed. Keep that at the forefront of your mind when you are putting it together or updating it.
Follow these simple guidelines:
- Keep the document simple and easy to read
- Give meaningful figures wherever possible (turnover, staff numbers, profit increases etc)
- Focus on key points that you can expand upon at interview
- List your most recent position first
- Mention any training courses/qualifications you have achieved
- Where possible keep your CV to two pages
- Ensure only information relevant to your application is on the document
- Be honest!
- Give current and accurate contact details – many applications are lost through inaccuracies. Make sure you are comfortable being contacted on the details given
- Don't assume – make sure that information would be clear to a stranger reading it
- Ensure that the document is spell checked and grammar checked. Ask a friend or a family member to read over its contents
- Make sure you have the names and contact details of two work referees who are happy to be contacted
What Makes a Good CV?
There is no single 'correct' way to write and present your CV, but the following general rules apply:
- It should be targeted towards the specific job or career area for which you are applying and bring out the relevant skills you have to offer
- It should be carefully and clearly laid out, logically ordered, easy to read and not cramped
- It should be informative but concise
- It should be accurate in content, spelling and grammar. If you mention attention to detail as a skill, make sure your spelling and grammar is perfect!
Tips On Presentation
- Your CV should be carefully and clearly laid out – not too cramped, but not with large empty spaces either. Make use of bold and italic typefaces for headings and important information
- Never produce a double-sided CV – each page should be on a separate sheet of paper. It's a good idea to put your name in the footer area so that it appears on each sheet
- Be concise: a CV is an appetiser and should not give the reader indigestion! Don't feel that you have to list every exam you have ever taken or every activity you have ever been involved in. Consider which are the most relevant and/or impressive. The best CVs tend to be fairly economical with words, selecting the most important information and leaving a little something for the interview. Good business communications tend to be short and to the point, focusing on key facts and your CV should to some extent emulate this
- Be positive: put yourself across confidently and highlight your strong points. For example, when listing your A-levels, put your highest grades first
- Be honest: although a CV does allow you to omit details (such as exam re-sits) which you would prefer the employer not to know about, you should never give inaccurate or misleading information. A CV is not a legal document and you can't be held liable for anything within it, but if a recruiter picks up the presence of false claims you will be rapidly rejected. (An application form which you have signed to confirm that the contents are true, however, is a legal document and forms part of your contract of employment if you are recruited)
- The sweet spot of a CV is the area that selectors tend to pay most attention to – typically the upper middle of the first page – so make sure that this area contains essential information
- If you are posting your CV, don't fold it, put it in a full-size A4 envelope so that it doesn't arrive creased