A summary of the best industry advice available to people who are creating or updating their CV.
CV Headings and Sequence
Recruitment Consultants and Employers review many CVs. It is rare for any one of them to read your CV in detail. Instead, most people scan the document for the information they need to qualify your suitability. To help the reader to find the most relevant information, you you adopt a familiar style that is easy to navigate.
So, you are helping the reader and your own prospects of achieving an interview if your CV has the following sections in this order:
- Personal information such as name, address, telephone, email
- Personal statement offering a description of what you do; function, experience, location etc.
- Career history with most recent first; roles, key functions, responsibilities and measurables
- Skills summary summarising systems / products and tools and experience and other relevant information
- Education & qualifications giving results and qualifications with the most valuable listed first
- Genuine interests, noting any areas of responsibility
The content of your CV should detail and evidence:
- All roles (indicate any temporary / contract roles)
- The level of responsibility for each role
- Locations or geography in which you have operated
- Success rates against any measurable target
- Achievements in relation to qualitative targets
- Educational history and achievement
- Vocational courses and results
- Any company awards, merits or acknowledgements
- Any industry awards, merits or acknowledgements.
- Your personal promotions.
The Golden rules of CV formatting are as follows:
- Use only Arial or Times New RomanThey are the clearest fonts on paper.
- Use the same font throughout the CVFont consistency keeps it neat and easy on the eye.
- Stick with one font size, either 10 or 11 pitchTiny text is too difficult to read.
- Leave space between the key sectionsThis breaks up your CV so that it’s easier to navigate.
- Avoid photographs and fancy graphics Keep it clean and professional.
What to Avoid in a CV
Xperian Recruitment’s consultants have read thousands of CV’s and have seen numerous examples of the following issues. Please ensure that you avoid:
- Stating anything that cannot be referenced.
- Detailing personal information e.g. Your NI number.
- Giving reference details (supply upon request).
- Spelling mistakes.
- Stating anything negative about past employers.
- Detailing reasons for leaving previous roles.
- Writing in 3rd person (“Ed is a brilliant salesman”).
On the subject of CV length, some generally observed guidance suggests that CV’s should be no longer than one or two pages. We disagree, as this doesn’t take into account how modern recruitment works in practice.
Perhaps the right way of thinking about this is to include only those items that are important but express those in the fewest number of words. Your CV length will ultimately sort itself out.
CV Personal Statement
Your opening Statement is very important as it’s commonly read before anything else. An estimated 70% of CV’s include the following sentiment in the opening statement:
“I am a conscientious, hard-working and determined individual who can work equally well on my own or as part of a team.”
Try to develop an opening statement that tells the reader what you are in a professional capacity. If you can indicate levels of success with any useful metrics then our suggestion is to include those.