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How to write a solid CV

With recruiters and employers scanning through CVs more rapidly than ever before, here are some straightforward tips on making yours as punchy as possible.

A new CV for every job

It might be time-consuming, but it makes a huge difference.

Position the skills and experience that are most relevant to each job at the top of your CV. It will ensure you stand out, and show that you’re a thoughtful and diligent candidate.

Keep things simple

If you have the right experience and skills for the job you’re applying for, the most important thing is that you get the basics right – everything else will speak for itself.

Try to stick to the following:

  • Simple formatting
  • Simple font (Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman)
  • Make paragraphs short – no more than 2 or 3 sentences (which makes your CV easy to scan)
  • Use bullet-points to list skills and qualifications
  • Make sure there’s plenty of space between text, and use wide margins
  • Use bold headings
  • Check carefully for spelling, grammar and typos – and get someone else to check too.

Unless you work in an area requiring a great deal of technical skill and experience, try to keep your CV to 2 pages or less (but also, don’t squeeze too much into a page – if extra detail is necessary, just extend your CV to 3 pages).

The structure

A well-structured CV should be laid out as follows:

  • Your details – name, email, address, phone number
  • Personal statement – a short summary that emphasises the skills you have that are most relevant to the job at hand
  • Work experience – most recent position first, including name of employer and dates
  • Education – again, most recent, or relevant, qualifications first
  • Skills
  • References.

Use simple language

Unless you’re describing technical skills or experience relevant to the job, write in a clear and concise manner.

Your fundamental goal is to show the employer how appropriate you are as quickly as possible. Complicated language and long, indulgent sentences simply get in the way of that goal.

Be honest

Lying about qualifications is not just immoral; it’s illegal.

Don’t exaggerate how long you were in a job to cover employment gaps or extended holidays. Recruiters are very good at spotting inconsistencies, and it’s very hard to hide things in the digital world.

Ultimately, if you need to lie to make yourself seem suitable for a job, it’s not the right the job for you.

For more advice on finding and preparing for your next job, speak to one of our expert consultants. Visit or call +44 (0) 1329 227000

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