CV Writing tips – Layout and Composition
Your CV is your marketing tool showcasing your experience and qualifications and gives prospective employers the first impression of you. Companies / recruitment agencies can assess a candidate’s suitability or unsuitability within seconds so it is important to have all the salient points presented in a persuasive manner giving you the best opportunity of being considered for the role.
Here are our Top Tips
You should have sufficient space in two pages to prepare a winning CV. Use A4 paper, black ink and a clear easy to read font.
- Personal details
Be sure to include your name and contact information at the top
Use titles for your Education, Qualifications, Experience, Achievements, Interests and Skills
Start with your most recent experience first and work back in chronological order.
- Bullet point
Paragraphs can be more difficult to read. Keep it punchy and use short sentences. Overuse of graphics, colour and fancy layouts can distract from the content.
- Spell check
Spell check and spell check again! Don’t use specific company terminology that others may not be familiar with. Most employers receive numerous applications for each position advertised and your CV can be dismissed because of avoidable mistakes. Take the time to be sure it is perfect. Have a friend review the final document.
Your CV for each application – being sure to highlight relevant details. Look carefully at the job description. When there is a change in your career be sure to record it on your CV so that it is always up to date. Remember key achievements, milestones passed, projects completed, awards given, etc.
- Mind the gap
If you have been out of work explain the circumstances, comment on any courses you might have completed or volunteer work you did or how you developed your skills during this time. Any gaps can lead to awkward questions.
- The secret of numbers
Don’t be shy to highlight your key accomplishments, e.g. increasing sales by a certain percentage, introducing an additional number of clients to the business, etc. These are tangible achievements and should be celebrated.
Not all employers will see that you are suitable to their position available. Make sure to write a concise personal statement which explains your suitability to the role. This can be at the top of your CV and in your cover letter or email (if applying electronically).
- Honesty is the best policy
Untruths on your CV are a no no! Don’t lie – you will be caught out at interview and particularly if the prospective employer checks your references.