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How to Write a Successful CV

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Presentation is everything! Your CV is designed to get you to an interview, therefore to greatly increase your chances of getting the job you want, you should present a CV that is presented and constructed in an easy to read professional format that is ‘employer friendly’. At-a-glance it should contain the vital information that grabs the interest of the reader and ideally should be no more than 2 to 3 pages in length. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and to ‘sell’ what you have to offer. Be specific and above all always be honest.

A CV can be presented in various ways depending on your circumstances, such as unemployment, first job, career changer, gaps in CV etc. Nevertheless, the following basics should be consistent to give that first good impression:


Key Points To Constructing Your CV

  • Make sure your headings and main content are consistent in size, font and style.
  • Use upper and lower case letters, not just capitals.
  • Set and keep to your margins.
  • Use bullet points in the job descriptions – this will make your text clearer and easier to read.
  • Tailor your CV to the job role simply by adapting some details so they are relevant.
  • Don’t waffle, get right to the point — by demonstrating what you’ve accomplished and what you’re capable of achieving now.
  • Instil confidence, clarity, commitment, enthusiasm, openness, ingenuity and team spirit.
  • Maintain accuracy, spelling and grammar. (Use a trusted proof reader)
  • Keep it up to date.
  • Use quality white paper and black print.


Your CV Should Include:

Personal and contact details - (name, address, phone numbers, email address, LinkedIn address). Format these contact details in a way so they can be easily copied.

Personal Profile / Statement – A confident and brief summary of your strengths and what qualities you will bring to a new job. It needs to be short, punchy and targeted at the skills required for the job. A well written personal statement can mean the difference between standing out from the crowd and your application being rejected. Include key words that will not only get you found on CV search engines but will grab the attention of an employer. As this is a personal statement, use the word ‘I’ and tell it as it is!

I’m an experienced telesales & telemarketing consultant and I frequently exceed my daily call and customer acquisition targets. My telemarketing skills, along with my customer service abilities are excellent and will contribute greatly to helping your company achieve its goals. I have a friendly and engaging demeanour that customers quickly warm to. I adapt well to various situations and handling customer objections comes as second nature. I’m meticulous in my paperwork and overall presentation.

Key Achievements / Key Skills, Knowledge and Additional Information

This section should include a list of 4-8 achievements and should be presented in bullet point format.  Highlight any achievements or key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills, IT skills, team working, problem solving, foreign language skills and voluntary groups etc.

Include details of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome for your employer.  Briefly describe the tasks involved, the various actions taken and the results achieved.

Employment History

Start with your most recent employment and work backwards over the last 8 to 10 years or so. Include dates and not just months or years worked at each employment. Give brief descriptions of each job including responsibilities and achievements. Be honest and don't over-elaborate.

Avoid gaps in your employment history as this may give rise to questions. Approach your employment gap honestly. If you’ve had a period of unemployment or taken a career break (e.g. travelling or to raise a family), include this. Briefly listing the constructive actions you took during your ‘employment break’ will actually work in your favour, showing your trustworthiness and integrity.

Give more attention to your most recent roles. If you’ve had numerous roles over several years then to categorise or list these in summary form.
Use positive, assertive language such as developed, organised or achieved (see list below for other suggested key words). E.g. “My position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for managing a team of people".

Education, Qualifications & Training

List your qualifications and training concisely and work back to the ones you achieved at school. If your education is recent you may want to add a brief list of the subjects covered. For school education taken years previously, you could simply state ‘7 x ‘O’ Levels with grades C and above; 2 A Levels in Maths & English’. List any further education qualifications such as a Diplomas or Degree you have. (Do not include GCSE results if you have a Degree qualification)

Interests and Achievements

Employers want to know about you, so include hobbies, interests, volunteer work and achievements that highlight your diversity, initiative and skills; these could be relevant to the role. Describe positions of responsibility, e.g. coaching or managing a team or perhaps being the leader of an organisation. However, exclude passive interests like watching TV. Try to make yourself sound really interesting.


You can simply state, ‘References are available upon request’

When requested, At least one referee should be work-related and recent. Or, if you haven't worked for a while, you could use another responsible person who has known you for some time.

In recent years, privacy and identity theft has become an issue so it is best not to list contact details of your referees. Employers won't need this information within the early stages of the recruitment process. Always seek the permission of your referees before passing to employers.

Sending Your CV

When uploading your CV to job boards or recruitment agencies, it is best to use a word document and not pdf format. Searching for key words is not always possible in a pdf document.

REMEMBER: You only get one chance to make a first good impression! A poorly presented and written CV is often immediately discarded along with your job prospects because the reader sees this as a reflection of you.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The following links provide additional information on preparing your CV that you may find useful.


Use ‘Power’ words on your CV

Using descriptive Power/ Action words selectively on your CV can convey your message to an employer in a more meaningful way. Here are some examples: 



















































Covering Letter

The cover letter is powerful addition to your CV and really should be included when applying for a job.  The covering letter should be well presented, clearly structured and concise. The letter should refer to the vacancy you are applying for and can be used as an opportunity to highlight things that you were prevented from including in your CV, such as the vacancy in question, its requirements and why you are the best person for the job.

Published at: 3:10pm on 29th May 2015

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