I was sorting some paperwork out at home the other day and came across my CV. I took some time to read through it and was mortified at the quality of it! It was woeful and potentially one of the worst CV’s I have seen, with two and a half years of working in recruitment I can tell you exactly why; terribly laid out, poor choice of font, far too much information on subjects a potential employer would have absolutely no interest in, the list goes on.

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With this in mind I felt it would be worth opening the discussion around what a CV should look like. I would like to first make it clear, I am not claiming to be a CV writing expert, and would welcome any input on this subject from my connections, clients and candidate alike! I just felt this was an interesting subject that was worth discussing.

Something I find myself saying to candidates a lot is “this is your first and only opportunity for a potential employer to read your CV” make it count! So here are a few bullet points that will hopefully help you to create the perfect CV…

  • Keep it simple, boxes and tables everywhere just looks too complicated!

I have never heard a client say “well, I felt their CV could have been a bit more stylish”. This is a functional tool to get the key information and achievements in your career across.

  • Tailor your CV to the position you are applying for!

You tend to have a job spec or advert to work from, and it’s a simple case of matching the criteria against your experience and achievements.

  • Apply for the roles you know you are suitable for and follow it up, call the recruiter and make sure they know you are keen.

I think this is probably a bi-product of the nature of job applications these days, you upload your CV to a job board and then Apply with 1 click of a button. It’s so easy to apply for every live role in your search but it tends to work against you!

I have been guilty in the past of dismissing a CV only to have the candidate call me to follow up their application and when faced with the fact their CV wouldn’t hold up to other applicants, they suddenly reel off all manner of experience which is not present on their CV.

  • Last of all, be honest

If you had some time out because you were made redundant or couldn’t find work, make sure this is accounted for in your CV. I know through experience what the first questions clients will ask, make sure you put them to bed up front!

As previously mentioned, I’m not saying I’m an expert! Just someone who reads a hell of a lot of CVs on a daily basis. I’m really interested to see what hiring managers and candidates think of this and would welcome any input, so let me know your thoughts!


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