CV tips The goal of your CV is to get you a job interview

There could be hundreds of applicants for a job and recruiters and hirers are very busy, so it is important for your CV to stand out from the pack to win you an interview.

Make an impact

Your CV will need to show key information to have an impact, always include:

  • Your roles and responsibilities.
  • Your experience – be consistent and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Be clear where you added value and had an impact.
  • Your skills - include all relevant skills gained in previous roles. Your skills should complement your experience and should illustrate your suitability for the job.
  • Results and achievements – if you have had targets in your last role and achieved them, or if you have ‘gone the extra mile’ to achieve something add these to your CV.
  • Your education and training – highlight relevant education and training, particularly when they’ve been listed as essential or desirable in the job criteria.
  • Tell recruiters only what they want to know – you should be able to determine this by the job description or advert.

What not to put in your CV

  • Photos
  • Your failures - be positive.
  • Bizarre fonts - have your CV on a plain white background and use common fonts like Calibri or Arial.
  • Unnecessary headings – you can save space on your CV by not putting in headings and titles that are not necessary.
  • Leisure activities – there’s no need to give details about your hobbies, unless of course they are related to the job you are applying for. Example: Football team player shows physical activity, ideal for physical jobs.
  • Your health.
  • Criticising current or previous employers.
  • Religion, sexuality or political affiliations - there may be some very small occupations/occasions where you may have to provide this information but as a general rule it should not be included.
  • Reasons for leaving your previous jobs.

Reasons for CV rejection

  • The experiences and achievements on your CV do not match the employers’ requirements -tailor your CV so that it matches the required skills and work experience of the job.
  • Visual layout - your CV should be simple, organised and logical to make it easy for someone reading your CV to find key information about you quickly.
  • Long CVs - employers prefer short interesting CVs that mention your relevant skills and achievements. An ideal CV should be no longer than two pages long.
  • Too much information - do not make your CV boring and difficult to read by including irrelevant information.
  • Spelling mistakes – spelling mistakes are an easy rejection for your CV. Word and other packages include a spell checker, use it and make sure it is set to UK spelling.
  • Incorrect contact details – this is so obvious but happens a lot. People lose jobs by not including the correct details.
  • Smudgy writing/print and poor quality paper - use quality paper and make sure your print is crystal clear.

And finally make sure:

  • It’s easy to read – make sure the layout of your CV is clear and consistent, containing only one font type (bold can be used to highlight). Use bullet points to outline skills, achievements, responsibilities etc. rather than rambling sentences.
  • There are no inconsistencies – make sure your CV runs in clear, reverse chronological order (soonest first i.e. 2015, 2014, 2013) and that there are no unexplained gaps in time or irregularities in responsibilities, timeframes or achievements.
  • You use relevant language – avoid jargon. Think about the recruiter. They might not be the expert in the job you are applying for.
  • You format and label – save your CV as a Word file or as a PDF. Most recruiters will have these software packages.
  • When you save your CV include your name i.e. SmithJohn-CV in the saved title. This makes it easier to find your CV at a later date.
  • You have a professional email address – employers are put off by some i.e. lozza@ To avoid using numbers try smithjohnjobs@

Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Your CV is the key to gaining an interview. Document your skills and experience relating to the job, this is crucial to getting to the interview stage.


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