Your CV: Getting it right

[today’s post from Lisa Baggaley]

The future of the traditional CV may be questionable given the power of LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, however, it currently remains the principal document used during job applications, so it’s important to get it right.

Since joining the recruitment industry last year I’ve been surprised to see such a high number of poorly presented CVs offered for job applications. Junior and senior candidates alike, poor layout, bad spelling and typos are the most common misdemeanours and are witnessed daily. Your CV is your advertisement, and it gives potential employers an indication of how conscientious you are. A sloppy CV can cost you the chance of an interview – and that is the reason for going the extra mile to making it great.

I’ve written this blog post in order to give a few basic tips about preparing a CV. It needn’t be complicated and having a great CV could win you the job of a lifetime.

Get started

The smartest way to use your CV when job hunting is to have a basic CV at hand which you then tweak for each job you apply for, ensuring each time that you highlight the parts most relevant to that role. Hard and fast rules can be ignored, the CV simply needs to give concise information and be presented in a way that is neat and readable.

The basics

  • Assemble a basic CV template with the following clearly sectioned: contact information, work history, skills, education, and, if you have space, a brief paragraph on personal information.
  • List history of employment in reverse chronological order. List name of employer, dates employed and job title, then a paragraph or two detailing the role.
  • The order in which this is laid out is less important, just ensure it is logical.
  • Ensure it fits on no more than 2 pages.
  • Do not rely on spell checkers – read it through carefully.


So you now have your basic template. Stand back and look it over – your CV should have bullet points aligned, paragraphs starting from the same margin point and any design technique applied should be consistent throughout.

Keep it simple. The two page rule is important – include only basic information and only elaborate in areas that are important to the individual role. Don’t use your CV to demonstrate your clipart skills. Graphs, charts and the like are all no-nos. Should you need to you can add a portfolio of your work as a separate document.

If in any doubt, ask your recruitment experts for their constructive criticism. We will always help our candidates to present themselves in the best possible way.