There is no single “correct” way to write and present a CV but the following general rules apply:
- It is targeted on the specific job or career area for which you are applying and brings out the relevant skills you have to offer
- It is carefully and clearly laid out: logically ordered, easy to read and not cramped
- It is informative but concise
- It is accurate in content, spelling and grammar. If you mention attention to detail as a skill, make sure your spelling and grammar is perfect!
If your CV is written backwards on pink polka dot paper and it gets you regular interviews, it’s a good CV! The bottom line is that if it’s producing results don’t change it too much but if it’s not, keep changing it until it does.
If it’s not working, ask people to look at it and suggest changes. Having said this, if you use the example CVs in these pages as a starting point, you are unlikely to go far wrong.
However before you dream of doing so, here are some tips to having the perfect CV.
1. Show what makes you unique
For every job you apply for you could be up against hundreds of other candidates, so you need to make sure you stand out. Employers don’t just buy skills, they buy solutions, so show how can you make the company money and how can you resolve the problems that they have.
2. Choose a clear layout
Employers spend around 20 to 30 seconds scanning your CV, so it needs to remain clutter-free and easy to read. The last thing a recruiter wants to do is to go hunting for the information that they are looking for so don’t hide it amongst an array of elaborate graphics.
3. Tailor your CV to your audience
It may sound like a time-consuming process, but making the effort to tailor your CV to suit the requirements of each particular job that you are applying for can greatly increase your chances of securing an interview.
4. Keep it error free
It’s deceptively easy to make mistakes on your CV and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. As well as checking your spelling and grammar, make sure your employment dates match up and that you’ve provided the right phone number and email address.
5. Keep your CV up-to-date
When you put together a CV it’s often difficult remembering the projects you have been involved with and the achievements you have made. To avoid missing important pieces of information out, revisit your CV every month adding anything of importance and cut any information that is no longer required.
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