CV advice – How to write a successful CV
Author: Nicola Lumb | Date published: 03/08/20
When writing your CV you should always remember it is your opportunity to sell yourself. Your chances of being invited to an interview are dramatically reduced if your CV doesn’t say why you are a suitable candidate.
Consistent formatting is essential. Use the same font throughout and use bold and/or underline to highlight section headings and subheadings.
Use a standard font that is easily readable (size 11 should be sufficient), stay away from fonts that are too fancy or look like handwriting.
Unless you are applying for particularly creative roles it is best to stick with black text and avoid unnecessary colour that may detract from your key information.
Don’t forget to spell check your CV before you send it. Poor spelling and grammar is one of the main reasons candidates don’t progress to the next stage of the application process.
When saving your CV save it in both a Word document and PDF. If you are emailing your CV directly to an employer a PDF is easier to read, however recruiters tend to prefer Word documents so they can process your information and send it through to their client in the required format.
Starting the main body of your CV with a personal profile is a great way to briefly highlight your key skills and achievements.
When you upload your CV to a job board recruiters can search for keywords within the content and match you to suitable vacancies. Think about including relevant keywords and technologies in your personal profile so recruiters and employers can easily find your CV on job board databases. If you aren’t sure what keywords to include view relevant job adverts and try to use similar wording in your CV.
CV length is a much debated subject but generally your CV shouldn’t be any longer than 2 sides of A4. Try to write clearly and concisely to keep your CV within this limit, you can also select a narrow page margin to give yourself a bit more space.
If you have a lot of technical experience it may be impossible to condense this down to 2 pages. If this is the case don’t panic, just write concisely and include all the relevant information rather than worrying about CV length.
If you are a contractor it is likely that your employment history will include a wide variety of different projects increasing the length of your CV. We suggest you start by writing all your previous positions down along with details of projects and achievements for each role. From here you can trim down information that doesn’t match the requirements of the role you are applying for and save different versions of your CV for future use.
As well as your name, telephone number, email and postal address consider also including links to your LinkedIn profile and other social media channels. Take into consideration the information you share on these channels, only direct potential employers and recruiters to them if they are professional and support the information you have included on your CV.
Top CV mistakes
We asked our team of recruitment consultants to highlight the key mistakes they commonly see on CVs, here is what they came up with: Top CV mistakes