Writing a Successful CV

Your CV is what will get you in front of an employer.  It should be well presented, informative and current.


Making your CV look interesting and ‘stand out from the crowd’ may be one way of getting noticed but as it travels through varying e-mail packages and recruiter databases, it can become distorted with important pieces of information missing; or it may get lost completely. Keep it in simple Word format.


Recruiters and employers don’t have time to sift through paragraph after paragraph of irrelevant information to find out exactly what you did in your last position, or what your successes were.  Often this becomes blurred so the best way to ensure that you get your highlights across clearly is to bullet point your Key Responsibilities, four or five only; and your Achievements, again only three or four would be sufficient.  A short introductory sentence about your role would be useful and any awards you may have won would add value to your profile.  Tailor your Personal Profile to suit the job you are applying for, where relevant experience is highlighted.


One of the worst mistakes you can make on your CV is not providing the correct contact information.  Ensure your current home address, telephone number and e-mail address are clearly included at the top of your CV.  After all, you do want to be contacted for interviews!

Other inaccuracies such as wrong employment dates can make your CV look confusing.  Ensure that your dates are continuous, but if there are gaps write in the reason why e.g. ‘Took time out to travel India in the summer of 2010,’ or ‘Took 3 years out of the workplace to raise my family’.  If there are gaps you will be asked to explain why if you get to interview.

A ‘must never do’ is lie.  Recruiters and employers will find out very quickly if you have lied or attempted to deceive them by including information that is simply not true.

Spelling & Grammar

Prospective employers will be put off by CVs riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes.  Use the spell-check function on your PC, read it over thoroughly or get a friend to review it.  Sometimes when you look at something for too long you miss out the simplest of errors which others can pick up on.  You may not be applying for a job as an English teacher but you may well be expected to write reports which will be seen by senior managers and board members; a well presented CV will give them an impression of your written communication skills.

Irrelevant Information

Do not let irrelevant information dominate your CV.  Your work experience is the most pertinent; hobbies, interests, etc are not.  They are of interest as they give an insight to the type of person you are outside of work but they should not take up a huge chunk of your CV.  Keep it brief.  An ideal CV should be between 2 and 3 pages at the most.