Writing Your CV

At some stage during the recruitment process you will be asked to provide a resume. We regard your CV as your personal sales brochure and it is therefore essential that it is clear, concise, and up to date.

  • Font

    • We suggest you use a single font, like Verdana or Ariel, which are very legible and work well in small sizes. It's easy for the eye to focus on and (research tells us) nice round letters make the reader tune in. Italics are the most difficult type of font or character type to read, so keep it simple.
    • Everything you can do to help the reader will be useful. Rather than use too many different sizes to highlight and make an impact, use the bold command instead. Make key words, phrases, or messages stand out like this.
  • Format

    • Keep your CV to two or three pages (the reader will tune out after that) and fill it with information that is relevant to the job.
  • Content and Structure

    Make sure your CV has a clear structure - include career overview, skills overview, qualifications (education/professional) and employment history.

    Employers often make up their mind from reading the initial summary and key skills. Create a compelling summary on the first page and include a list of your key skills and key applications in bold. Note the quantity of experience you have for each key skill, e.g. Business Analysis (5 Years), Database Design (4 Years), etc.

    Bullet points break up a CV well. Employers want to get straight to the salient points so direct them there. Important information should stand out but avoid using just one or two words.
    Each bullet point should give the reader a feel for:

    • when you instigated a particular idea/project. (Self-starter)
    • when you are/were responsible for a particular task. (Primary influence)
    • when you assisted on a particular task. (Secondary influence).
    Give the reader a feel for the type of tasks and responsibilities that you can cope with and how proactive you have been.

    Think about how you can break projects down into specific tasks. Any ad hoc projects must be backed up with examples of issues that were tackled on this basis. Highlight achievements to demonstrate your successes.
    Your CV and interview are the only chances you've got to advertise yourself. Make sure you stand out. First impressions last.

    Get our specialist advice on how to create the best possible CV as well as our tips on clinching that first vital interview.

  • DO

    • Communicate your strengths, your achievements, your initiative and your personality; in short, your credibility and suitability.
    • Your CV should be no more than two to three pages long. Think quality, not quantity. On average, readers absorb 60% of the first page, 40% of the second, and anything after the third is generally a waste.
    • Aim to make an impact on the reader.
    • Put the greatest emphasis on your most recent positions. Summarise older roles. Include dates and months of employment for each.
    • Include your competence in foreign languages (basic, good, fluent), but be honest. So, if you only have 'O-Level French', then you have 'basic French'.
    • Be positive - don't be too modest and don't lie about your experience. Positive thinking is vital to secure that next position.
    • Tailor your CV to each job application. Tailor the CV to the company/department and position whenever possible. Although this may be time-consuming, it could just help you clinch that job! You could include a 'position sought' section in your CV for this purpose.
  • DON'T

    • A badly prepared CV undermines the credibility of its contents.
    • If you cannot produce a professional document about yourself, an employer may conclude that you are unlikely to have the competence to fill an important job.
    • Don't make false/exaggerated claims: honesty is always the best policy. If the interviewer spots inconsistencies in your CV you won’t be successful.
    • Don't provide personal information such as weight, height, and place of birth. You can include information about your interests, but keep it short.
    • Don't enclose a picture.
    • There is no need to include your 'hobbies'. If you have some outstanding achievements, such as 'Olympic Rower', there is clearly no harm in mentioning this: it may enhance the interview.
    • Don't include your required rate/salary. You cannot win - the figure will often be too high, or sometimes even too low. Negotiate this after you've got the job!

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