10 Tips on how to write the perfect CV

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is best thought of as your personal marketing document. Getting it right takes time and patience. Ultimately, it should highlight why a prospective employer should choose to interview you over all the other candidates.

Did you know that the average recruiter or hiring manager spends just 6 seconds reading a CV?

Here are our 10 top tips on how to write the perfect CV so that you can capture their attention in those scant seconds and get invited to interview.

#1 Make it pleasing to the eye
The easier a resume is to read and follow, the better. Simple and consistent formatting helps – as does its organisation into obvious sections. So choose a clear font, keep the size consistent and make sure there is enough space within the margins and sections to make it easy to read. Keep it to two pages – no-one wants War and Peace!

#2 Make it appropriate for the role you’re applying for
Your CV needs to be relevant to the job description and requirements. You should tailor your profile to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to the role.

#3 Be clear about your accomplishments
Employers want to know how you’ve made a difference at previous companies because they are wanting someone to make a difference at theirs. Be clear about your successes and your impact in previous roles – hirers are looking for concrete evidence about your abilities.

#4 Loyalty
Most recruiters and hiring managers will avoid job hoppers and will be looking for those that spend a good amount of time at each position. Past behaviour predicts future behaviour so make it clear how long you’ve spent at previous positions. If you do have some positions that were short-lived, make it clear why you left.

#5 Personal brand
If you are really active on LinkedIn, with engaging posts that really show your personal brand off to its best advantage, include a link on your CV to your online profile.

#6 Write a great personal statement summary
An eye catching summary of your overall skills and achievements, along with a professional photo, will certainly be noticed in the 6 second scan. Make sure you address the following (again, tailored to each position you are applying for):

  • Who are you?
  • What can you offer the company?
  • What are your career goals?

#7 Chronological order
Make sure you put your work experience and education in chronological order – employers are more interested in your recent past than your longer term past – so make it easy for them to find out what you’ve done lately.

#8 Don’t leave gaps
Employers will be suspicious of obvious gaps in your education or employment timescale. Be transparent and honest – if you were out of work, maybe you did a course or voluntary work? If so, add it.

#9 Be honest
Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. Honesty is always the best policy.

#10 Check, and double check it
Proof read your CV and then send it to a few colleagues/friends for their feedback. You will definitely hit the decline pile if you have typos and silly mistakes in your CV.

Your CV is your chance to make a great first impression and secure yourself an interview. If you follow these top ten tips, you may find yourself invited to interview. Good luck!