CVs – the Dos and the Don’ts

How to write a CVDos:

Be Career Specific

In your profile summary, ensure you’re clear about what career you’re seeking.

Formatting

Ensure your career history is organised with your most recent role first.  Keep your duties relevant and concise and list any major achievements.  Choose a professional font and keep the layout simple.

Dates

Make sure your dates are accurate. Any gaps in employment will be questioned.

Stand out

Include any interests or hobbies section. Keep it short and relevant to the role e.g.if applying for a role in finance, perhaps you read the Financial Times or regularly check the Markets.

Spelling and grammar

Having a perfect career history with the ideal on-paper attitude will be hindered by grammatical and spelling errors.  Check it again, and then again.

Don’ts:

Long paragraphs

Avoid long, descriptive paragraphs highlighting potentially irrelevant skills and experience.  Keep it short, concise and specific, and use bullet points.

The 2-page rule

Avoid writing a 1 or 5-page CV.  If you have very little career history, think about how your experiences could be relevant to the role.  Include any sporting or charitable events, professional memberships, conferences/seminars you have attended and volunteering work that may add value to your CV.

Don’t get personal

You’re not obliged to include your date of birth, age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or religion on your CV.  Equally, refrain from attaching a picture.

Avoid clichés

The typical ‘I work well on my own or as part of a team’ and ‘I work well under pressure and can produce results under tight deadlines’ are repeated too many times with little substance.  An employer wants to see depth to you skillset, not textbook answers.

Creativity

Depending on the role you are applying for, you should remain professional in your formatting, don’t use pictures or colours to make it stand out.  Recruiters for most fields generally prefer professional, standard CV formatting.  However, this doesn’t mean you cannot be creative with your content.

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