Is your CV clear?

Your skills and experience are the key to securing an interview or job. Your CV is the first version of yourself that is presented to an employer before you have an opportunity to make a personal first impression. Dress your CV like you would dress yourself for an interview; with care. There are a few simple ways to create a CV that pops and tailors your experience to the job. A good CV is made of three things: content, design, and language.

Here are our top tips for creating a great CV:

Content

1. Tailor your CV to the career field.
Identify buzzwords in the job advert and work them into your CV.

2. List your experience in reverse chronological order.
Your most recent experience will often be the most relevant, unless you’re considering a career change. Beginning with your current job will make your CV look fresh and up to date.

3. Adapt the order to your needs.
If you are a recent graduate you will want to showcase your education first, before highlighting your skills and backing these up with evidence of your experience.

4. Necessary information.
Remember to include your contact details and update them regularly. Do not include your age/date of birth, this information shouldn’t be important to the employer unless your age is a requirement for the role (18+). The only ’age’ the recruiter should be interested in is the length/depth of your experience. ‘References available on request’ isn’t necessary if you’re short on space.

Design

CV trends come and go, but keeping it clear and simple, and presenting it in a logical order is the best way to succeed.

1. Be consistent on font, and size.
Try Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman in size 11/12.

2. Logical order.
The layout should make it as easy as possible to read the CV, so use clear headings. Use a simple template to guide you if you like, but be careful to proofread to avoid missing any [Fill in the Blank] spaces.

3. Utilise white space.
Create white space around information that you want to pop, such as good grades, relevant previous employers or experience. For example:

8 GCSE’s including:

Maths – A

English – B

4. The 2 Page Golden Rule.
An employer may not have a lot of time to spend on each CV, so it should ideally be 2 pages long. If you have a lot of relevant experience, prioritise it to match the job role requirements.

 Language

1. Active Language. Use words like ‘managed’ or ‘produced’ rather than ‘involved’ to start short sentences. This immediately tells the employer what they want to hear, and you will come across as capable and confident.

2. Avoid clichés and empty statements.
A lot of CV’s state, ‘I work well in a team and independently’, which are useful skills but often something that most people can do. When paired together, these qualities cancel each other out so instead, consider what is required of the role and highlight different experiences where you have successfully worked in a team, and independently.

3. Proof-read.
Ask somebody else to proof read for errors, spell check is not fool proof! A typo in your CV is going to be more telling than the line about your ‘excellent communication skills’.