Your first chance to make a good impression, your CV has one purpose: to get you a job interview. Your CV should present you in the best possible light and convince a prospective employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this specific position or career.
Here are some tips to consider in order to make sure your CV is clear, up-to-date and showcases your skills effectively.
Top basic CV tips
Most employers scan rather than read CVs - so to make sure it stimulates interest, follow these basic tips:
- Avoid coloured paper, fancy fonts or unnecessary photos - keep it simple
- Stick to the same verb tense - use the past tense to refer to previous responsibilities and the present tense to refer to current specifications
- Choose strong action verbs
- Do not speak about yourself in the third person
- Avoid using too much jargon and acronyms that other people might not understand
- Tailor your resume for each specific application
- Include a brief description of the organisations you have worked for (sector, size, turnover)
- Don't forget to include all you personal information: name, address, mobile number and email address.
Four key areas to strengthen your CV
- Qualifications: List both academic and non-academic qualifications in chronological order, including awards and distinctions.
- Employment History: Start with your current function and work your way down to your first employment. Include your responsibilities, duration of employment and reasons for leaving. Do not omit any period of employment. However, as you become more experienced you can start removing de details of your earliest jobs to focus on your most recent and impressive achievements.
- Achievements: Make your CV results oriented. Give examples of your achievements and the skills you've developed in your career so far. Address the specific qualities relating to the job and provide examples of what you have done so far in your career that demonstrate why you are particularly suited for the role.
- Personal Interests: Including some personal information such as hobbies and interests is fine, but do so sparingly. Consider how your hobbies and interests have equipped you with skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Other transferable skills or qualities such as being a self-starter or possessing leadership skills are also highly valued by employers across a wide range of roles."
Check your CV
Before submitting your CV, make sure you check it thoroughly, not just for spelling mistakes, but also to make sure that it is a clear representation of you, that it is tailored for the job in question and that it will encourage the employer to contact you to find out more. Ask a friend to check it, too. Someone who works in the industry for which you are applying would be particularly beneficial.
Need more help?
Consult our career advice section for more advice.