CV do’s and don’ts

If you are looking to apply for a new job, the first thing you need to do is update your CV. Any recruiter or employer looking at your CV will only spend a few moments scanning over it before deciding whether they are interested in knowing more about you and your experience. It is therefore essential that you make it stand out from the crowd. Here are some do’s and don’ts to take into account when putting your CV together.

Do...

Research the company

Make sure you do your research on the company before you start writing your CV. Find out exactly what the company does, what your job would involve and what they are looking for in a candidate.

Use two pages maximum

Keep your CV to two pages maximum, employers do not have time to read through pages and pages of information. Prioritise your experience and skills so they are relevant to the role.

Include a personal statement

A personal statement is a summary about you, what you have achieved and why you are looking for a new position. A personal statement gives employers a good overview of your experience and where you want to take it.

Tailor your CV to the job advert

Research the job specification and tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. Look at the skills and experience they desire and focus on putting down any experience you have that is relevant to the role.

List relevant work experience and dates

Include any work experience in reverse chronological order and remember to write start and end dates. If you were only in some positions for a short period of time due to temporary contracts, remember to state this next to your work experience.

Use positive language

If you are describing any work achievements, look at using positive language that will stand out to an employer such as ‘managed’, ‘supervised’, ‘achieved’ etc.

Make your CV easy to read

Use a font that is easy to read and leave plenty of white space between sections. For example, personal statement, work experience, qualifications etc. Left aligning the text and changing the font to black will also make it look clean and tidy.

Double check grammar

Once you have finished writing your CV, double check the grammar. To be safe, you could get someone else to cast their eye over it as well. Any spelling mistakes in your CV will not look good in front of a potential employer, so it is important to get it right.

Put your name and email on each page

Remember to include your name and email address on every page of your CV. If your CV gets mixed up with another applicants, the employer can clearly identify if it is yours or not.

Don’t…

Include information which could be viewed negatively

Negative information might include reasons for leaving a job, failed exams or business ventures, any driving licence points etc. Leave any negative information out of your CV. You want an employer to focus on the positives such as your skills and experience, not to be thrown off by any negatives that are not necessary to disclose at this stage.

Include salary expectations

Leave your salary expectations for the interview where you will then have an opportunity to negotiate. The employer will know more about you in the interview and whether they are considering you for the role, so that is a perfect time to discuss it.

List skills that are not relevant to the role

Do not include a long list of skills if they are not relevant to the job description. Condense them down into a list that you think the employer will take notice of. Give examples of how you have used those skills in past employment as an example.

Be dishonest

Writing false or inaccurate information in your CV is never a good idea. It is easy for employers to check if what you have stated in your CV is true or not so always be honest about your experience and qualifications.

Include anything that could discriminate you

It’s not a requirement to include personal details such as your date of birth, gender, race, marital status or whether you have a disability in your CV. Employers should make a decision based purely on your skills and experience, so don’t include any personal details at this stage that could interfere with the selection process.

Use an unprofessional email address

First impressions count, so make sure your email address sounds professional. If you don’t have a suitable address, create a new email account with an appropriate name for professional use only that you can use for job applications and any other work purposes.

List every single qualification or module you have studied

You want to keep your CV to a maximum of two pages, so keep your qualifications list short but relevant. An employer does not need to know every single module you studied alongside your degree if it has no relevance to the job they are recruiting for. Remember to keep it specific and relevant.

Include a photo unless it has been requested

It is not necessary to attach a photo of yourself on your CV, likewise your date of birth, gender etc. Focus purely on making a good impression on paper and if you are shortlisted you then have an opportunity to meet face to face.

Take these CV do’s and don’ts onboard, and you are sure to be on the right track to perfecting your CV ready to send for the attention of potential employers.

Posted on Aug 13, 2020

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