Writing your CV 

...because you never get a second chance at a first impression.

To provide the best chance of securing an interview, ensure your CV accurately sells your experience.

Good CV example: An effective, eye-catching CV is professionally-written to impress employers and secure the job interview. 

Bad CV example: An unimpressive and poorly-written CV with no chance of impressing the employer or securing job interviews.

We also wanted to provide you with 2 CV templates so you could create your perfect CV easier. Depending on the job role you're applying for, you can use our Standard CV Template or Creative CV Template

DOs

Keep it to 2 Pages 

  • There are few exception to this rule. Perhaps, if you have over 30 years' experience, you can go to three pages. Otherwise, we recommend two pages to eliminate waffle and really trim the fat from your CV!

Tailor your CV to the Job

  • Hiring managers are typically very experienced and can spot a generic CV a mile off, even though they skim applications. Rather than trying to shoehorn in all your skills and achievements, focus on select skills and experience that perfectly match the role you're applying for. This allows you to expand on these attributes and demonstrate how you will be a valuable addition to the team. 

Chronological CV

  • This is by far the most widely used format and outlines your work experience and education. It is the best option if you plan to stay in the same industry and have no gaps in your work history. 

Follow the Correct CV Format

  • Personal details: Include your name, address, and contact details
  • Personal statement: A well-written personal statement will help you stand out from the crowd
  • Skills testing: Skills tests are a good way to stand out from other applicants. The main skills tests that Hiring Manager will for in a PA are Word, Excel and Powerpoint. 
  • Work history: List your employment history in chronological order, include dates, job titles, duties and responsibilities. 
  • Education: Include details of your degree, relevant training and professional accreditation
  • Achievements
  • Hobbies

Choose the Right Font

  • Times New Roman is one of the most commonly used fonts, but you may find that Cambria or Calibri are better options for digital applications. The ideal font size is 11. Remember, the hiring manager will be scanning your CV, so it needs to be nice and easy to read. 

Keep it Neat and Tidy

  • As well as getting someone to proofread your CV to check for spelling and grammatical errors, ensure there is plenty of white space included. If a hiring manager sees a squashed up CV, they won't even read it!
  • Each section should be clearly outlined and clear.

Support Claims with Specifics

  • Merely saying that you "helped reduce corporate spend" does nothing for your chances of getting an interview. Employers want specifics, so include data to support your claims. A good example would be "I helped reduce the company's corporate spend from £20,000 a year to £14,000 within 12 months of taking up the role."

Include 'Power' Words

  • Add words such as achieved, supervised, launched or coordinated when describing your work achievements. 

Add Details of Professional Qualifications and Systems Used 

  • If you completed a course and received a qualification relevant to the job you're applying for, be sure to include it. This added bit of expertise could be the difference between getting an interview and being left disappointed. However, you shouldn't include details of minor courses that offer qualifications which have no bearing on the job.

DON'Ts

Lie

  • Including even so-calles 'white' lies is a huge error. Hiring managers are more diligent than ever before when performing background checks. If you are deemed to be a suitable candidate, a thorough check is likely and your deception will probably be uncovered. Even if you get the job, there's a strong possibility that the lie will eventually come back to haunt you. Worst of all, it is unlikely that the lie is the reason you got the interview or job in the first place!

Including Irrelevant Personal Information

  • You don't need to include your nationality and you definitely don't need to mention your age. Although employers aren't legally allowed to dismiss your application based solely on how old you are, you'll never know if that's the reason they rejected you. Other needless data includes ethnicity, sexual orientation, health status and marital status.

Include Unnecessary References

  • There is no need to include references or even say "references available on request" unless the job opening specifies it. You only have a limited amount of space to deal with so why waste it on things you don't even need?

Add Fluff

  • Worried that your CV won't even reach two pages? First of all, you should be able to expand on your relevant skills, educations and experience and when this is achieved, you will probably be close to the limit. If not, don't include fluff such as a long list of schools you attended or hobbies you enjoy. If it doesn't help you get the job, leave it out!

Add Negative Information

  • This means no mention of divorces, failed exams, driving license points and failed business start-up attemps. Additionally, don't complain about a previous employer or even give reasons why you left. You'll be up against stiff competition for the role, don't give the hiring manager any reason to discard your application.

Include Jargon Unless Necessary

  • Adding technical terms and acronyms to a CV is seldom a good idea. While it can show off your expertise, you have to remember that the hiring manager is probably not an expert in the field and will have no clue what you're talking about. 

Mention Money

  • Once again, all mentions of salaries and benefits can wait until the interview stage and only when the recruiter asks you the question.