6. Ten top tips to write a good CV

6.1 - Keep it concise

Keep your CV to the recommended two pages.  Bear in mind that employers spend, on average, just 20-30 seconds looking at any one CV so do not lose their interest with irrelevant detail. It is also unnecessary to photocopy all of your certificates together with your CV. If they are interested in taking your application further, they can ask for this later.

6.2 - Tailor it

Although more time-consuming initially, the importance of tailoring your CV is critical. Research the company and use the job specification to work out exactly what skills you should point out to them. The effort will be paid off if done well and also helps in your preparation for an interview as you will have clarified the skills and strengths that are important to them.

6.3 - Include a personal statement

It is very important to provide a short summary of yourself using appropriate words which effectively ‘sell’ you to the company. Being modest on a CV will not win you interviews or make a powerful first impression. The recruiter needs to be able to see what you can offer at a glance to further interest them to read more about you.

6.4 - Do not show obvious gaps

If you do have a very scattered job history, consider the functional CV which aims to hide gaps as you do not want to draw negative attention to your CV. Focus instead on the skills and experience you have, listing them under appropriate subject headings.

6.5 - Keep it current

You should keep your CV up-to-date whether or not you are actively job-hunting. That way, you can remember and keep note of anything significant that occurs in your career that could be very valuable later on.

6.6 - Spelling, grammar and typing mistakes

Mistakes on CVs can undo all your other good work in presentation skills, layout and even the content. Ensuring attention to detail on such an important document cannot be underestimated so employ all the tools you can to ensure this is not the case. Use Spellchecker, read through it a few times and then get someone else to read it before sending it off.

6.7 - Tell the truth

Blatant lies on your CV can result in job offers being retracted when it comes to employers checking your background and references or you may be asked to leave a job you have just started. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly cannot answer questions on what you claim to know which would not be a pleasant situation to find yourself in!

6.8 - Quantify your achievements

Always try to give the facts and figures around claims you have made to give a detailed summary of your talents. By stating you made a ‘significant increase in sales to the department’ is not nearly as impressive as ‘boosted the sales turnover for the year by 30%’. And remember to use a variety of positive action verbs to start each achievement.

6.9 - Good presentation and layout

Make your CV stand out by creating a top-notch professional-looking document. Take some time to ensure you get this right as excellent first impressions are paramount. Ensure it is easy on the eye by using the correct font including size with sufficient white space to break up the text. Use bullet points to enhance its readability.

6.10 - Maximise viewing of your CV on the internet

If you have uploaded your CV to a job site so recruiters can find you, keywords are very important. Job titles and job buzzwords will help a search engine pick out your CV. If you are unsure, have a search online and see which words are commonly mentioned when you type in your job title.