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7 months ago by Matthew Lane

How to write a great CV

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In a competitive jobs market, your CV is the thing that will really make you stand out from the crowd. As a result, it needs to be well-written, accurate, concise and professional in appearance.

To give yourself the best possible chance of impressing employers, it’s wise to take into account the following tips when it comes to writing your CV.

Don’t be sloppy

With a recent study revealing that most CVs contain spelling errors or typos – with particular problems caused by much-used words such as ‘experience’, ‘responsibilities’ and ‘professional’, as well as apostrophes in unnecessary places – it’s vital that you don’t fall into this same trap.

An employer is likely to discard or look unfavourably upon a CV which includes sloppy spelling mistakes, bad grammar or numerous typos. You should check, double check, and then check again to ensure your document is up to scratch. If in doubt, get a friend or family member to look over the CV for you. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can really help with regards to spotting errors.  

Employers will be after people who take plenty of care and attention with their work; a flawless CV will help to prove you have those credentials.

Keep it short and simple

Your CV should be no more than two pages long and should only include work experience that is relevant to the job you’re applying for. In other words, tailor your CV so it doesn’t appear too generic or unfocused.   

It’s also crucial that you don’t go overboard on different fonts or font sizes, as this will only serve to make your CV hard to read and messy.

Keep paragraphs short and to the point, make sure the page isn’t cluttered with information, use bullet points to make information easier to read, and focus on simple, subtle formats rather than anything too fancy and intricate.

If you’re unsure about how to lay out a CV in a professional manner, use a CV template to help you on your way.

Be accurate

You should never lie, mislead or wildly exaggerate on your CV, as this is more than likely to backfire and come back to haunt you. Employers will go through your CV with a fine toothcomb, and will soon pick up if you’ve not been entirely truthful.

Let your work history and achievements speak for themselves; don’t make stuff up to try and impress.

It’s also important to be as accurate as you can with dates of your previous employment, as well as ensuring that your contact details are correct and up-to-date. There’s no point writing a great CV if an incorrect email address and phone number then renders you uncontactable.

Get the tone right

To increase the likelihood of your CV catching the eye of an employer, you need to make sure your biggest achievements are clearly listed in a concise fashion.

Don’t over-elaborate or labour a point as this is only likely to lose the employer’s attention.

The language you use will also play a key part. Your CV is effectively your first sales pitch so it needs to be persuasive. Using active rather than passive words will help you to achieve that, and remember to keep things formal at all times.

A casual, chatty tone is unlikely to go down well with employers, who will want to see evidence of a professional approach.