A CV is quite possibly the most important two- or three-page document that you will write in your life and so, it has to be spot on. While there’s no perfect formula, there are things you can do to improve your prospects and faux pas that will seriously harm them.
As London-based secretarial recruitment specialists who see countless documents every day, we’re no strangers to a good CV – or a bad one. Therefore, we’ve created the following guidelines to help you on your way to the perfect job.
Keep your CV to two pages, unless you have an extensive work history and cannot physically fit everything in. Make sure your name is on all pages.
Be concise – everything you say should be there for a reason. If it is not relevant, don’t include it.
Customise your CV and personal profile for every job. Give a generic CV to recruitment agencies you are registered with.
Set out your CV clearly and to a defined format – bullet points can help in formatting and keeping the word count down.
Check for spelling and grammatical errors with a fine-tooth comb. You would be surprised how easily these are spotted. Take particular care with elements like punctuation after bullet points.
Consider how your potential employer will be reading your CV. If on screen, consider using a font like Calibri.
Include your achievements. Responsibilities and skills don’t fully convey how good you are at the job!
List your educational achievements, placing your highest grades first.
Leave any unexplainable gaps – inconsistencies with dates will be spotted quickly by a potential employer.
Fabricate anything. These will show up when references are taken and your offer is likely to be retracted.
Exclude personal interests, such as hobbies, travel and volunteer work. Employers will want to know what makes you tick and personal interests paint a picture of your character and whether you’d be a good cultural fit.
Feel the need to include references. If you’re struggling with space, state that references are available on request.
Be too creative with your CV’s formatting – a simply designed CV can’t be judged, but a quirky one can.