CV Writing Advice Blog

Example of a good CV April 23 2016, 1 Comment

Example of a good CV

When it comes to writing a CV, it helps to have a solid example of a good CV to benchmark your own CV against.

So I've put together a selection of effective professional CVs that have been used to win job interviews for our customers in the past.

I've included one example CV from 10 major professions, so you should be able to find a relevant CV in the list below.

You can also download our free CV template here

 

Admin & Business Support CV | Customer Service CV | Education CV | Finance & Accounting CV | Graduate/Junior CV | IT CV Management CV | Marketing CV | Project Manager CV | Sales CV

 
 

 

Admin & Business Support Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

cv

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Admin & Business Support CV

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Why is this an effective Admin & Business Support CV?

Admin and business support staff are employed to carry out tasks that support organisations to function and can involve a range of skills from database management and reporting, to diary management and call handling.

A successful admin/business support CV should show how the candidate supports senior figures in the organisation to deliver their services.

1
The profile gives a clear high-level explanation of the candidate's experience including the industries she has worked in and the seniority of the people she supports.

It also summarises the most important tasks that she covers in her roles - such as internal communications and professional documentation.

 

2
The core skills highlight important business support duties that employers will be looking for, such as typing at speed, diary management and call handling. 

These bullet points jump out at the reader upon opening the CV - instantly showing the candidate's suitability.

 

3
Role descriptions start with a brief outline that tells readers what the employer does, who the candidates supports within the business and they type of work being supported.

Bullet pointed responsibilities go on to describe regular activities such as arranging internal events, recording client data and travel arrangement - and also show how these actions help managers and the business as a whole.

 

4
Older roles are squeezed down to short summaries in order to keep the CV short whilst giving employers just enough information to see the candidate's background.

 

5
Education is kept brief and highlights the qualifications that are important to hiring managers in the business support field, such as Secretarial Diploma and Advanced Legal Communications.

 

 

Customer Service Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

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Why is this an effective Customer Service CV?

Customer service staff act as the "face" of their employer; ensuring that customers are looked after whilst also acting in the best interest of the business.

Your customer service CV should show employers that you are professional yet friendly, with a sound knowledge of the industry you operate in.

1
The profile gives a clear indication of the types of businesses that the candidate has worked in; shows how they interact with customers in their roles and the services they are familiar with providing.

 

2
The core skills highlight important customer services skills that employers will be searching for such as complaint handling and transaction processing.

This candidate also highlights their language skills because being multilingual could be very useful in a customer facing role.

 

3
Role descriptions start with a brief description of the employers service and explain how the candidate interacts with customers to help provide these services

Bullet pointed responsibilities explain day-to-day activities and how each one helps customers and supports the employers goals

A good key achievement has been added which quantifies the candidate's value by showing the percentage of complaints that have been resolved within a targeted time.

 

 

Education Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

Education CV

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Education CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective Education CV?

CVs for educators such as teachers and lectures need to project the candidate's expert subject knowledge whilst also demonstrating their abilities to educate their students successfully and work collaborative with other staff members. 

1
The profile provides an overview of all the key information that an education institution needs to know such as;

  • Age of students worked with
  • Type of institution worked in School/University/College etc.
  • Subjects and Curriculum taught  
  • Number of students worked with

2
The core skills highlight important skills that a primary school would look for in this case, like behaviour management, classroom preparation and SEN support

These bullet points jump out at the reader upon opening the CV - instantly showing the candidate's suitability for teaching assistant roles.

 

3
Role descriptions start with a brief description of the education institution, the type of curriculum being taught and who the candidate reports to and supports. 

Bullet pointed responsibilities explain day-to-day activities and how each one helps to educate students as well as support the functioning of the school.

Older and less relevant roles at the bottom of the CV are shortened to list format, in order to save space and ensure readers focus on earlier roles.

 

Finance & Accounting Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

Finance and Accounting CV Page 1

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Finance & Accounting CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective Finance & Accounting CV?

A strong accounting or finance CV should demonstrate the candidate's ability to manage an organisation's financial affairs by detailing their qualifications, knowledge of finance systems & processes and ability to create cost saving or improve processes.

 

1
The profile confirms the candidate's qualified status, gives an outline of areas of expertise and the types & size of organisations worked for.

 

2
The core skills section highlights skills that are valued by finance teams such as finance systems & controls, asset management and internal auditing.

These bullet points jump out at the reader upon opening the CV - instantly showing the candidate's suitability for accounting roles.

 

3
Role descriptions  start by outlining the role and organisation, who the candidate reports to and benchmark figures such as budget managed and number of people managed etc.

Responsibilities show exactly which financial processes have been managed/implemented and how they have improved processes or saved money for the company. They also show colleagues, stakeholders and external parties that the candidate liaises with.

Key achievements that show impressive amounts of money saved for the firm are a great way to show quantifiable value to employers and really make the CV stand out.

 

4
Education and professional memberships are often important in financial roles as many positions require qualifications for companies to abide by laws and regulations - so they are made bold and clear.

 

5
Accounting and finance IT system knowledge is highlighted as employers will have their own systems and need to know whether candidates can use them or not.

 

Graduate/Junior Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

Graduate CV Page 1

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Graduate Junior CV Page 1

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Why is this an effective Graduate/Junior CV?

The main challenge that junior candidates coming straight from school, college or university face, is that they often lack relevant work experience.

However, this can be addressed by placing more focus on non-work related experience such as education, personal projects, volunteering etc. and ensuring the content is tailored towards the jobs you are applying for.

This candidate is a music graduate, applying for roles in the music-management space, but they have no paid employment experience in the profession. 

You can also check out our guide on writing an effective school leaver CV.

 

1
The profile focuses on the candidate's academic achievements and extra-curricular activities as they are all music industry related. 

It doesn't mention any of the candidate's paid employment as none of it is relevant to music management.

 

2
The core skills section again focuses on academic achievements such as the degree in music management and skills that have been learnt outside of work, such as instrument playing and music production software.

An extra section called "Ongoing Musical Pursuits" has been added to show recruiters that the candidate is actively involved in the music industry, even though their current full-time job may not be music oriented.

This stops employers being put off by the candidate's current irrelevant role and allows them to showcase more of their music experience to create a good first impression.

 

3
Role descriptions  are kept brief as music industry recruiters will not be interested in the candidate's part-time retail sales roles. 

Roles are still well structured and written though, to ensure the CV remains professional throughout.

 

4
Education sections for junior candidates needs to be detailed in order to demonstrate skills and knowledge that will not yet have been gained through work experience.

This candidate details relevant personal music projects, music production software and shows practical skills that could be applied in the workplace.

 

5
Interests are not often necessary for experienced workers, but junior candidates can use them to showcase hobbies and interests that are related to their chosen profession.

Here the candidate backs up their technical skills and passion for music  by writing about relevant  musical pursuits.

 

IT Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

IT CV Page 1

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IT CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective IT CV?

The key to an interview-winning IT CV, is to blend your technical knowledge with straight-forward business language, so that your CV will impress both technical and non-technical people alike.

An IT CV needs to contain all of the important technical terms that IT specialists will look for, but also be written in a way that can be understood by non-IT staff like recruiters and non-IT hiring managers.

 

1
The profile for this IT support candidate gives a summary of their IT knowledge with the type and size of companies they have experience working for. It also explains how their work supports the running of their employer's business to demonstrate their value. 

 

2
The core skills section highlights important qualifications that recruiters will be scanning for such as CCNA and ITIL, whilst also including core duties that will be expected of IT support staff such as troubleshooting and SLAs.

If you have lots of qualifications and technical skills then you can swap these round when applying for different roles to ensure that you are highlighting the most relevant knowledge to employers for each vacancy.

 

3
Role descriptions  start with an outline that explains where the candidate sits within the business, the type of support they provide and amount of users they are responsible for.

Responsibilities go into details around daily activities such as hardware installation and user support whilst being sure to include as many technologies as possible, to show employers the systems and hardware the candidate is capable of working with.

Key Achievements are nicely quantified by including numbers of staff moved during relocation and  percentage of issues dealt with inside SLA time frames.

 

4
Education sections for IT candidates can tend to be a bit larger than other sectors due to the large amounts of qualifications required to work with certain systems. Be sure to include all of your relevant qualifications to ensure that your CV will be found in relevant recruiter searches.

The most important qualifications should be repeated in your profile and/or core skills section. You can also add a Technical Skills section to reinforce some of your more generic skills that aren't limited to particular makes/models.

 

Management Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

Management CV Page 1

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Management CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective Management CV?

The overall goal of a management CV is to show recruiters that you are able to lead teams in an efficient way that is beneficial to the business.

These benefits will differ depending on your industry, but usually include objectives like generating revenue, managing & improving operations, saving costs and serving client needs.

1
The profile for this Estate Management candidate outlines the industry he operates in and includes lots of important management terms like budget management, operations and team leadership

 

2
The core skills section includes important factors that employers will look for when recruiting somebody to manage a part of their business; including example figures of budgets managed and client relationships.

 

3
Role descriptions start by outlining important facts such as, number of people managed and type of clients served, as well as the overall goal of the candidate's management role.

Responsibilities detail day-to-day tasks, showing how they impact customers and the business as a whole. In management CVs it's important to show how you can lead teams and organise individuals to achieve common goals and keep clients happy.

Key Achievements show solid quantifiable facts that impact the business such as increase in revenues and a decrease in customer complaints. 

 

Marketing Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV
 Marketing CV Page 1

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Marketing CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective Marketing CV?

The function of marketing within any business is to drive leads to to a website or physical shop, in order for them to be converted into customers.

So your marketing CV should explain how your skills and actions are used within marketing campaigns, and how you've helped the business to win new customers.

Marketing is hugely focused around results, so your CV should feature lots of facts and figures to prove the value that you've added.

1
The profile for this candidate highlights her specialism in digital marketing and gives an overview of the types of campaigns she has run for previous employers and the results she has achieved.

Essentially the profile explains how the candidate can help businesses to increase their customer base and demonstrates her value to potential employers.

 

2
The core skills section highlights the marketing tactics she uses in her campaigns to give recruiters a quick snapshot of her marketing skill set.

This includes important digital marketing terminology such as SEO  and Social Media Marketing.

 

3
Role descriptions  start with an outline of where the candidate sits within the business and what the overall goal of the role is.

Responsibilities delve into the detail of her campaigns, showing what tactics are engaged, who she interacts with and technologies and methods used to achieve marketing goals.

The key achievement sections gives an excellent summary of a recent marketing campaign with a good amount of figures to quantify her success such as number of new customers gained and revenue generated.

 

4
This particular candidate has no formal marketing qualifications so she has kept her education section very brief.

 

Project Manager Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

Project Manager CV

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Project Manager CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective Project Manager CV?

Project managers are mostly employed to oversee one or more large transitions that drive some form of improvement within an organisation.

Whether it's an office relocation, or installation of a new IT system, your project management CV needs to show that you are capable of taking an employer form A to B in an efficient and timely manner. 

 

1
The profile gives an overview of the type of projects that the candidate manages (IT infrastructure) and gives a rough idea of the types of firms he usually works for and the value of an average project he would lead.

This information gives recruiters an instant indication of the companies and projects this candidate is suited for.

 

2
The core skills section goes into a bit moire detail around the candidate's technical skills, such as web conferencing and instant messaging, as well as recognised project management qualifications like Prince2.

These are the type of attributes that project management recruiters will have been briefed to look for, so it pays to highlight them.

 

3
Role descriptions start with a high level overview of the project to show readers the size and scale of the project as well as where the candidate sits in the hierarchy.

Responsibilities delve into the detail of daily/weekly tasks such as planning, reporting and leading workshops. It's important to show interaction with colleagues and stakeholders as well as showing how actions continually driving the project forward. 

Key achievements round up some impressive figures from the project such as money and time saved on completion.

 

4
Due to the nature of project management, candidates will sometimes have worked for a large number of different employers over their career,(especially contractors) so older roles can be organised into list format to save space.

 

5
The education section only includes relevant project management and technical qualifications because that is all recruiters will want to see - the candidate can afford to leave out traditional education such as A levels, to save space if need be.

 

Sales Example CV

I've included some helpful notes below the CV

Sales CV Page 1

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Example Sales CV Page 2

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Why is this an effective Sales CV?

Sales staff are expected to generate income for businesses by consistently closing sales, therefore your sales CV needs to prove that you can do this.

Sales is a results driven profession with a huge focus on results and figures, so employers will expect to see this reflected in your CV

 

1
The profile gives an overview of the candidates sales skills such as account management, sales growth and relationship management; as well as showcasing product and service knowledge which is very important in sales roles.

 

2
The core skills section provides a good mix of sales skills and product knowledge in order to give a quick snapshot of relevant attributes to recruiters.

 

3
Role descriptions start with an outline that shows the candidate's position in the business and which area she is responsible for driving sales in.

Responsibilities show the steps taken to achieve sales such as lead generation, networking and earning referrals. The candidate also showcases more in-depth product knowledge and details levels of customer and colleague interaction.  

Quantifiable key achievements are crucial to a sales CV, so this candidate has included revenue generated, number of new customers acquired and increase in portfolio size.

 

4
Sales teams like to employ competitive individuals so this candidate has included some industry awards to showcase here abilities in that area. 

 

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How long should a CV be? Your CV questions answered April 03 2016, 0 Comments

Writing your CV can be tricky when you're not sure of the guidelines and common practices.

How long should a CV be?

What do employers look for?

What font should I use?

The list goes on...

So we've compiled the 11 most common CV questions that customers ask us here at StandOut CV and put them into this handy infographic to help you write an interview-winning CV.

How long should a CV be and more CV questions

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CV writing service  Free CV template

Your CV questions answered

If you want to write a high impact CV that impresses recruiters and secures interviews with the best employers, then it's important to clear any doubts you may have about the process.

We've collated the most common CV questions that we are asked, to help you fill any knowledge gaps you may have.

 

Q. How long should a CV be?

A. Around 2 pages of A4

Recruiters are and employers tend to be very busy and will often read hundreds of CVs every week.

For this reason, you should try to make your CV a quick and easy read for them.

2 pages of A4 is about the right length to be able to hold their attention whilst communicating all of your skills and experience.

Don't panic though - it's not a set-in-stone rule and you won't be instantly rejected if you your CV goes a little under or over 2 pages.

 

Q. What do employers look for in a CV?

A. Your ability to perform their role

When a recruiter or employer reads your CV, they have one question on their mind;

"Can this person do the job?"

In order to prove this to them, your CV needs to show that you have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience required to carry out their vacant role.

In order to find out what employers want, you must do your research before you write your CV.

Take a look at plenty of job adverts for the types of roles you are planning to apply for and take note of the most important requirements.

Then ensure that you are highlighting those requirements in your CV to show employers that you are suited to their vacancies.

 

Q. What font should I use on my CV?

A. Any clean and simple font

Your CV needs to be clear and concise with a professional outlook so choose a font that is clean and easy to read.

Avoid using anything too elaborate as it will cause headaches for recruiters when they are trying to read it.

 

Q. Should I include a photo on my CV?

A. No

Unless you are applying for an acting or modelling job, you don’t need to include a photograph in your CV.

Photos take up valuable space that could be used better by filling it with compelling reasons why an employer should hire you.

 

Q. Do I include all of my experience in my CV?

A. Ideally, yes - with some exceptions 

For completeness and transparency, you should include all of your experience ideally.

However, there are some cases where you can shorten or even omit experience

Exception 1 - If you are an experienced candidate then you don't need to include lots of detail in your older roles from years ago. Summarise older roles in one or two lines because employers will be focusing on your recent employment.

Exception 2 - If you have a really short role that is completely irrelevant to the field your applying to, then it's OK to omit it.

For example, if you are applying for job as a school teacher and you previously had a one week temp job as a courier, then it's OK to leave that out.

 

CV writing service  Free CV template

 

Q. Should I include my date of birth on my CV?

A. No

Your age or date of birth are irrelevant to the recruitment process so there is no need to include either in your CV.

Also your date of birth is an important confidential detail that can be used against you by identify thieves - so it's best not to include it on a document that you will be circulating online.

 

Q. Should I hide gaps in employment on my CV?

A. No

If you do have long periods of unemployment, then it's best to be up front and mention them in your CV.

Try to explain the gaps with constructive content such as personal projects, volunteering, travelling etc. to show that you've been pro-active and kept yourself busy

 

Q. Should I include my interests on my CV?

A. Only if they will add value to your application 

Hobbies or interests are an optional section to your CV, so you only need to include them if they will add value to your application.

For example, if you are applying for web developer jobs and you happen to build websites in your spare time, then it's worth including that particular interest.

Also, if you're a junior candidate with little experience then sometimes your interests can be used to demonstrate skills that your work experience may lack. For example, if you've captained a sports team, that can be a great way to show leadership skills.

 

Q. Do I need to send a cover letter with my CV?

A. Yes

You should always send a cover letter or introductory note when applying for a job in order to convince the recruiter to open your CV.

Luckily you don't need to send a whole page of A4 these days; a short and sharp message of one or two sentences should suffice.

You just need to include enough information to show that you have some relevant skills and knowledge to perform the job.

 

CV writing service  Free CV template

 

Q. Should I include references on my CV?

A. No

Employers will not need to contact your references until after they have made you an offer, so there is no need to waste space on your CV by including reference details.

Also some less scrupulous recruiters may attempt to contact your referees to pitch their services which could be damaging for your relationships.

 

Q. What if I have no experience?

A. Be creative 

If you are a recent school leaver, or just have no direct work experience in the field that you are applying to then you just need to use a bit of creativity and highlight experience and transferable skills from other areas.

You can draw on anything from school/college/university projects to voluntary work or training courses and more.

If you really don't have any relevant skills or experience for the roles you are applying to, then the simple answer is to go and get some.

There are a few ways you can pick up relevant skills and experience for your CV quickly.

  • Training courses and qualifications - Even before you've finished the course or achieved the qualification, you can still add the fact that you're working towards them on your CV and mention some of the skills you are learning.
  • Volunteering - Contact some relevant businesses and offer your services for free, many small businesses will be grateful for the help and you can pick up some great experience to add straight your CV.
  • Freelancing - Sign up for a freelancing site like Peopleperhour, set up a profile and you can start working on a wide range of freelance projects to build up your experience and portfolio.

 

If you have any more questions about CV writing, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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How much is your CV worth? February 14 2016, 0 Comments

Your CV is one of the most important documents you will ever write, but how much is it actually worth to you?

If you were to write a new CV today, what earning potential could it unlock for you?

We took the UK's average industry salaries from Reed and multiplied them by the average time you are likely to spend with your next employer (4.6 years according to the BLS) to calculate the monetary value you can place on your CV.

Find your industry and experience level in the infographic below to discover how much your CV is worth.

How much is your CV worth infographicShare this Image On Your Site

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Maximise your CV potential 

Your CV is an extremely valuable tool which can be worth several hundred thousand pounds in some industries.

If you're looking to make a career move, then it's worth investing some serious time and effort in the creation of your next CV.

In order to impress recruiters and land interviews for the best jobs on the market, your CV needs to look professional and communicate your relevant talents quickly.

Some quick CV Tips

  • Research the job market before you start writing or updating your CV to find out what skills and knowledge your target employers are looking for.
  • Create a clean and easy to read structure so that your CV can be navigated effortlessly by busy recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Keep your CV to around 2 pages in length - busy employers don't often have time to wade through lengthy CVs.
  • Focus on communicating your hard factual skills and avoid cliches and buzzwords.
  • Show your impact by demonstrating the effects of your input on previous employers.
  • Use facts and figures to quantify your achievements where possible.

If you want to learn more about how to write an interview winning CV, check out our CV writing blog. If you'd like us to write a professional CV for you, contact us about our CV writing service

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Do you really need to hire a CV writing service? September 03 2015, 0 Comments

Do I need to hire a cv writing service

Your CV genuinely has the potential to change your life.

It could earn you a £10k pay rise…Or it could land you a job that you stay in for the next 25 years…

It's understandable that you want your CV to be as good as possible in order to get the best job you can - So you may have considered hiring a professional CV writing service like ours, to help you out.  And you're not alone - thousands of people in the UK are employing professional CV writers to improve their CVs every month.

Hiring a professional CV writing service can be an excellent way to boost your CV but it isn't for everyone…So if you are thinking about hiring a professional to write your CV, then there’s a few questions you should ask yourself before committing.

Are you struggling to get the right interviews?

Notice that I didn't just say interviews I said the right interviews

If you want to land a great job, then you need to be securing a good amount of appropriate interviews.

A good interview for you is one where the role you are applying ticks to as many of the following boxes as possible.

You probably won’t be able to tick all of those boxes with every interview you attend but you should be able to tick at least 4 for an interview to be considered good for your career.

So if you’re already consistently getting interviews that tick all of your boxes, then you definitely don’t need to hire a CV writing service – you may just need some interview advice to jump the final hurdle and secure that new job.

However if you are only landing bad interviews, or even worse; you aren't getting any interviews then you really need to start thinking about improving your CV.

Whether you choose to hire a CV writing service or do it yourself using online CV advice or CV templates – you need to do something quickly or your situation will not improve.

 

Are you willing to invest money for a good CV writer?

As with most thing in life – a good CV writing service will not be cheap.

If you want a professional CV written for you that gets results, then you will need a professional writer with lots of recruitment experience – and you will need a sufficient amount of their time to consult with you, craft the CV and revise it to perfection. 

This will not be cheap – you must be prepared to accept professional fees if you want a professional CV.

This quote from American businessman Armand Hammer sums it up

 

pay peanuts and you will get a bad cv writing service

 

Whatever you do – don’t opt for a cheap-and-cheerful option.  You would be better off doing your own research and using a professional CV template to create the CV by yourself.

But any money (or time) you spend on your CV should be viewed as an investment rather than a purchase…

Why?

Because it will usually earn you more money than you spend on it

For example, our full professional CV writing service starts at £149 which is a considerable sum of money, but if it helps you to get a £5,000 salary rise, then it pays for itself pretty quickly.  

You just have to weigh up the risk VS the potential reward.

 

Are you able to take advice from others?

You obviously have lots of skills, experience and knowledge in your field – that’s why you are good at your job.

But what you may not have, is knowledge of recruitment… and that’s the only thing that stops you (and a lot of my customers) from creating a good CV.

If you’ve never reviewed CV’s before or never sifted through tons of job applications then it’s sometimes hard to understand exactly what employers are looking for.

If you've you read my blogs before, you will know that I have a lot of recruitment experience and I believe it’s blending that experience with our customers’ skills is what really allows us to create interview winning CV’s.

I imagine that most of the other CV writing services will operate in a similar way – you can see what recruiters look for in a CV on Reed’s blog

how to create an interview winning CV with our professional cv writing service

So if you’re thinking of hiring a CV Writing Service, you will need to be able to take advice, recommendations and even criticisms on board from your allocated CV writer.

Chances are that if you’re not getting interviews, your CV probably has some flaws that you will need to accept if you want to improve.  A lot of companies will start with a free CV review where they will point out your CV’s weaknesses and explain how they can improve it.

 

Can you make the time to work with a CV writer?

Do you have time for a cv writing service

Hiring a CV writing service is not as simple as emailing your CV, paying your money and then waiting for a brilliant CV to arrive in your inbox.

A good CV writer will need to ask you questions in order to extract the important information that is needed to impress employers and win interviews.

I can’t think of one occasion where I’ve been able to seriously improve a customer’s CV without asking a few questions.

So if you’re going to hire a CV writing service then you need to put aside at least twenty minutes to answer any questions they may have about your work – otherwise you won’t get the best results.

 

So, do you need to hire a CV writer?

If you’re struggling to win job interviews then you definitely need to improve your CV – but you don’t necessarily need to hire a CV writing service to do this.

You can do it yourself and I can recommend a few resources to help you...

My CV Writing Blog – I’ve written a few advice articles that can provide you with a lot of hints and tips about CV writing

You can also look on career advice sites such as The Guardian Careers and Independent Careers

However if you really want to involve some professional help and you’re willing to invest the time and money – then a CV writing service is the way to go.

 

Hiring a CV writer

There are lots of CV writing service’s on the market today offering a range of different service levels and prices so you’re probably going to browse around.

Take a look at some of our credentials here

If you want to try us out then send us your CV for a chat here and we’ll let you know if and how we can improve it.

Happy Job Hunting

 

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7 CV formatting tips that will get you more interviews August 16 2015, 6 Comments

CV Formatting Tips and advice.

If you are struggling to land interviews with your current CV it may not be it's content that's letting you down.

Sometimes your CV formatting could be making it difficult for recruiters to see your skills and cause irritation in the process, which will result in your CV being overlooked. 

The good news is that by making a few simple format changes to your CV, you can make some big improvements that will hugely increase your chances of landing job interviews.

Take a look at the following tips and see if there's anything you can use to boost your CV.

 

1. Decrease your CV page margins

You have limited space when writing your CV, so you need to make the most of it by minimising blank space and filling the pages with compelling content that will persuade employers to contact you - especially at the  top of your CV.

The top quarter of your CV is particularly important because it is the first thing a recruiter will see upon opening - it needs to make big impression to keep them interested.

Decreasing you page margins will allow you to fit more content into the top of the page and your CV as a whole.

Take a look at the CV below; it has a large page margin at the top and you can see the affect that it has - you can't see much of the CV content when you open it because it's all pushed down the page by the margin. 

Some recruiters will move straight on to the next CV without scrolling down if they don't see enough of what they want at the top - which is bad news for your application.

cv margin formatting

However if you decrease the top page margin then much more of the content becomes visible to the recruiter upon opening your CV, which will give you a much greater chance of making an immediate high impact.

Ideally your current or most recent role should be visible open opening so that recruiters can instantly see your current capabilities.

Below you can see how to decrease your page margins and how much more content it allows you to squeeze in to the top quarter

cv margin formatting

 Wikhow has a more detailed article on how to change page margins if you need it.

 

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2. Minimise contact details

Another way I often see candidates wasting space on their CV's is by writing far too many personal details at the top.  In a similar way to large page margins; lengthy contact details push the content of your CV down the page and hide important content from view when first opening it. 

Recruiters don't need to see your full address and date of birth on your CV - it's too much detail for the early stages of a job application. 

All you need to include is your name, telephone number, email address and rough location - so that recruiters can contact you and have an idea of where you can commute to.  Put these details at the top of your CV in small font size to save as much space as possible.

The examples below show the difference this CV formatting can make to your it's effectiveness

cv contact formatting

cv contact formatting

 

3. Divide your CV's sections clearly

To ensure that your CV is easy to navigate and has a professional outlook you should have clearly headed sections throughout. 

If recruiters find your CV easy to read then they will like you more - it's that simple

 

Most likely you will have at least a profile section at the top followed by employment history and then a section for education/qualifications.  Make sure each section is titled accordingly and that the text for the heading is in bold and a few sizes larger than your paragraph text.

CV section formatting

You may also have sub headings within your CV (for example your job titles will be sub headings under the main heading of your employment section).  Sub headings should be emboldened and can be slightly bigger than your paragraph text but not as big as the main heading text... Like below

cv section formatting

At StandOut CV we also use borders in our CV formatting to make really clear divisions of sections for our customers. 

To add a border simply click the lower border button in the tool bar when you've finished writing the text in it... see below

cv border formatting

 

CV writing service  Free CV template

 

4. Use bullet points in your CV role descriptions

Bullet pointing your role descriptions makes it far easier for people to read your CV and pick out the information they need.

Recruiters and hiring managers are often very busy people so they will be reluctant to wade through big messy paragraphs. Break your roles up into logical one-line bullet points so that your important skills can be easily picked out at speed.

Look at the 2 CV sections below...  They contain exactly the same text but one is an unstructured block of text whilst the other is bullet pointed.  It's obvious which one is easier to read and extract information form.

cv bullet point formatting

 cv bullet point formatting

 

5. Ensure your CV page transitions look tidy

A page transition is what happens when one page ends and the next one starts. I see a lot of candidates who have really messy page transitions like this one below which has a really bad affect on your CV formatting. The role title is on the bottom of the first page of the CV but the details of the role do not start until the second page. 

It's not a deal breaker but it looks really untidy and would cause me to doubt the candidate a bit - especially when it's such a simple thing to fix.

cv page formatting

In this instance all the candidate needs to do is move the role title down on to the second page by clicking above it and pressing enter a few times.  This simple change instantly makes the CV look more professional... see below

cv page formatting

If you have messy looking page transitions in your CV then you can easily fix them by moving roles down the page a little or even playing with the page margins a bit.

 

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6. Always send your CV as a Word Document

cv file formatting

There are 3 reasons why you should always save and send your CV in Word Doc format 

1. It's superior: Ideally you should write your CV using Microsoft Word because it has the best features for CV writing in my opinion and the majority of employers will open your CV in Word when they receive it. If you can't get access to Word then you can use Google Docs or Apache Open Office (both free tools) because they also allow you to save the file in a Word compatible format ensuring that all employers will be able to open your CV. 


2. It's compatible
: Some companies will not have the relevant software to open files like .txt or even PDF's - so if you don't send your CV as a Word Doc, then the recruiter may not even be able to open it, which is a total waste of an application.


3. It's editable: Sometimes recruiters have to make edits to your CV before sending them on to hiring managers.  For example big organisations often have standard candidate forms that they have to copy all of your CV content on to, or sometimes a recruiter will just want to make a few tweaks before sending your CV on to their client. 

If your CV is in Word format then recruiters can easily make the necessary changes and get your CV in front of decision makers quickly.  If you send your CV in a non-editable format such as PDF then you run the risk of slowing down the process when edits are needed - while the recruiter is chasing you up for an editable version of your CV, other candidates could be beating you to the post.

 

7. Name the CV file properly

A CV is a professional document and the file name will be seen when it's attached to emails, so take a few seconds to name it properly. 

If I receive an email application and the CV attached has a messy name like "01978373final draft" or "Dave's admin CV" then I will instantly get the impression that the candidate is a bit sloppy - not a great start if you want to get shortlisted for roles.

The best way to name your CV is simply use your full name followed by CV

This is how a recruiter will view your application so the file name matters hugely when it comes to CV formatting and making your CV stand out.

cv file naming

 Renaming a file is pretty easy - take a look below

rename cv format

 

Conclusion - Good CV formatting wins interviews

CV Formatting is extremely important and can quite literally make the difference between getting an interview or not getting an interview.  

A well formatted CV will ensure that your skills are highlighted to readers and that it moves through the recruitment process quickly.

Check out our example CVs to see full 2 page examples of well structured CVs with annotation.

 

If you have spotted any formatting issues in your own CV then you should be able to fix them fairly quickly using the tips above in order to improve your application success rate and secure more job interviews.  You can always bookmark this page and return later if you don't have the time to make them right now.

If you have any questions or comments on CV formatting then please ask in the comments below.

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The Truth about CV's from UK Recruiters February 25 2015, 0 Comments

The Truth about CV's Infographic | CV Writing Blog

Key Points to take from this study...

  • Out of 54 CV's that are received on average for every UK vacancy, only 3 are sent on to hiring managers - so make sure yours is appealing to recruiters.
  • It only takes 1 mistake in your CV for recruiters to start doubting you - so make sure you triple check your CV before sending it out.
  • 73% of recruiters will look you up on LinkedIn - so when you're job hunting, ensure that yours is up-to-date and professional.

 

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How To Write A Killer CV Profile December 07 2014, 2 Comments

How to write a killer  CV profile

The profile is a crucial element of any CV

Being at the very top of your CV, it is the first element that an employer or recruiter will look at.  

If they are not impressed, they will not be compelled to read the rest of your CV; and may skip straight on to the next CV in their inbox.

 

Keep it short and sharp

Employers and recruiters are busy people and you’ve got a limited amount of their attention to reel them in with your profile.  

Make your profile a 3-5 line paragraph that highlights all of your high level experience, skills and knowledge without going into too much detail.

Profile on CV

 

Download free CV Template

 

Sell yourself

You need to sell yourself in your profile to get the reader interested in you initially.

Don't just describe yourself plainly like this;

“Retail Marketing Manager with 3 years experience”

Be creative and excite the reader by adding some persuasive terminology like the below.

“Expert Marketing Manager with a proven track record in driving consistent sales in the highly competitive retail industry”

If you can excite recruiters as soon as they open your CV, you will create a strong first impression and stand a much better chance of being shortlisted for roles.

 

Quote impressive facts

CV Facts

Employers love to see proof of your worth with facts, figures and stats.

Quantifying your value with figures shows employers how they can specifically benefit from hiring you. 

Perhaps you’re currently in charge of a multimillion pound budget?

Perhaps you've just graduated with a 2:1?

Perhaps you’ve worked exclusively for tier 1 banks?

Perhaps you’ve generated over £500k in sales this year?

The facts you use will differ depending on your industry and experience level but you should be able to include one or two.

Try to drop some figures like this in but don’t crowbar them… they should fit the narrative.

Think of what might impress an employer that was looking to hire somebody with your skill set.

 

Tailor for your CV audience

Remember the job your applying for and only include relevant information to that role in your profile because that’s what recruiters will be scanning for.

You may well have previously been a professional football player 10 years ago – but there's no need to mention that when applying for customer service jobs.

Browse through relevant job adverts to find out exactly what skills and knowledge your target employers are looking for - then pick out your most relevant attributes and make them prominent in your CV profile.

 

Download free CV Template

 

Don’t use generic CV clichés

CV Cliches

CV clichés or buzzwords are common phrases that are usually used to describe soft skills - see the examples below;

"Hard working team player"

"results driven thought leader"

"Strong communicator"

The problem with cliché phrases like these is that they are very generic and don't tell the reader any specific about you without facts to back them up.

Focus on facts like skills experience and knowledge when crafting your CV profile.

Check out my full CV writing guide for more advice on writing your CV profile and avoiding buzzwords.

 

Example CV profiles

Check out the example CV profiles below for some inspiration in writing your own.

Office Administrator CV Profile

CV Profile office manager

 

IT Project Manager CV Profile

CV Profile of IT project Manager

 

Social Media Manager CV Profile

CV Profile Social Media Manager

Check out some more effective CV profiles on our example CV page

Hopefully the advice and examples above should arm you with enough knowledge to write an effective CV profile to kick start your CV.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have about CV profile writing below in the comments section.

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39 CV mistakes that stop you from getting interviews December 07 2014, 0 Comments

39 CV Mistakes

If your job hunt is failing, chances are your CV is letting you down.

Your CV is all an employer has to build a first impression of you, so just one mistake can seriously damage your chances of landing job interviews.

We’ve compiled a list of the 39 most common CV mistakes that lead to rejections and surveyed a group of UK recruiters to rate how damaging each one is.

 CV Mistake Damage Rating

It's rare for any one single CV mistake to cause instant rejection, but usually a combination of several that stop candidates from getting shortlisted.

Check your CV for any of the following errors and get them fixed if you want to start landing job interviews.

 

1. Not tailoring your CV for target employers

CV Tailoring

Your CV must be targeted to appeal solely to the niche of employers and vacancies that you are applying to.

Not tailoring your CV is the most damaging mistake that you can make when writing your CV.

If you only address one mistake on your CV, make it this one.

When an employer reads your CV, the fundamental fact they want to understand is whether or not you can do the job.

If your CV doesn’t include the skills and knowledge that your target employers are looking for, you won’t be shortlisted – no matter how well written and structured your CV is.

Do your research and find out exactly what your desired employers are looking for, then make sure that you are making those requirements prominent on your CV.

Relevant job adverts and company websites are good places to start when researching the requirements for your target roles.

Damage rating: High

 

2. Wild unproven Claims

“Best salesman in Europe”?

“Most successful project manager in the industry”?

“Widely regarded as leading figure in merchant banking”?  

Writing these sort of phrases on your CV may secure you a place on the BBC’s Apprentice, but they just look a bit embarrassing in the real world.

Claims like this are often impossible to prove and do not look very credible.

Use facts and real examples of your success to prove your value to employers whilst remaining humble.

Damage rating: Medium

 

3. A ridiculous email address

Bad email address

When you’re trying to impress and appear credible, it's a big mistake to brand the top of your CV with something like badboyz4eva69@yahoo.com

It looks hugely unprofessional and will have readers questioning your judgement and general approach to work. 

If you do have an email address that seemed really cool when you created it, but now leaves you slightly embarrassed, set up a separate professional email address for your job hunting mail. 

Damage rating: Low

 

4. Big chunks of text

Huge un-broken paragraphs of text are a reader’s worst nightmare – especially when those readers are looking at hundreds of CVs every week.

Big chunk of text

Instead of making employers wade through large messy chunks of text; break the information up into short paragraphs and bullet points. This way they will be able skim read your CV and easily spot the information that they are looking for.

Damage rating: Medium

 

5. Not showing your impact

It’s great to demonstrate your skills and abilities in your CV but you also need to show what sort of impact they make on an employer.

Don’t simply state your responsibilities and knowledge – but go on to explain the results of your skills when you apply them.

CV Impact

For example, don’t just write;

“Producing financial reports and reviewing spending”

Elaborate to show your impact

“Producing financial reports and reviewing spending, resulting in a £10k annual saving”

It may not be possible to do this for every one of your responsibilities but try to do it where possible.

The addition of numbers/figures/facts is a great way to quantify your impact.

Damage rating: Medium

 

 CV writing service  Free CV template

 

6. CV Keyword stuffing

You may have read that your CV will sometimes have to pass through an automated computer CV scanning system before it reaches a human reviewer.

These systems search CVs for key words that are related to a vacancy and then filter out any CVs that don't contain the words they need - therefore ensuring that only relevant CVS reach the recruiter.

Knowledge of this process has caused some candidates to panic and repeatedly cram keywords into their CV in an attempt to "beat the system" - check out the example below.

Keyword stuffing in CV profile

Whilst this may seem like a good idea to ensure that you get your CV in front of decision makers; it's not a great tactic in the long run.

Why not?

Firstly, it looks hugely unnatural and won't make for very good reading when an actual human lays eyes on it.

It ruins the flow of your writing and stops you from communicating your points fully.

If you received a CV that read like this, would you be impressed?

Secondly, not all companies use these systems and good recruiters certainly don't rely on them. Most recruitment process are still very people orientated with IT systems simply supporting the CV reviewing process - not replacing it.

Write your CV to impress real people first and tweak it for computer systems afterwards if need be - but do not stuff keywords in where they shouldn't be.

Damage rating: Medium

 

7. Not giving a high level summary of roles

When writing your role descriptions, avoid diving straight into the details of your responsibilities without setting the scene first. It will make it difficult for readers to understand how your work impacts your employer and how you could fit into a new team.

Start each role with a brief summary of what your employer/team does and how your work contributes to the organisation at high level.

Damage rating: Medium

 

8. Meaningless clichés

CV Cliches

Your CV should focus on hard facts like skills, achievements and industry knowledge. 

Cliché Phrases like “works well in a team or individually” or “blue-sky thinker with a can-do attitude” may look fancy but they don’t actually tell anybody much about you. 

Concentrate on explaining exactly what you've done for your employer and how it has benefited the organisation to show the positive impact that can be made by hiring you.

Bulking out your CV with vague and overly complex descriptions like the one above will just confuse and annoy employers.

Damage rating: Medium

 

9. Reasons for leaving

Employee Leaving

Recruiters don’t need to see the reasons you left for every job on your CV. Your CV should be solely focused on attracting employers by selling your talents.

You will need to convey your motivation for leaving your current role and joining a new employer, but you can explain this briefly in your cover letter – don’t waste space on your CV with it.

Damage rating: Low

 

10. Elaborate fonts

One of the most important aspects of an effective CV is that it should be easy for recruiters and employers to read.

Whilst it can be tempting to use a fancy font to add a bit of elegance to your CV, it will actually make your CV tough to read and give recruiters a bit of a headache.

Take a look at the examples below.

CV Fonts

If you were sifting through hundreds of CVs a week, which font would you be more pleased to see?

Use a simple, clean font like Arial or Tahoma for a professional easy-to-read CV.

Damage rating: Medium

 

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11. Salary requirements/details

CV Salary Details

The purpose of your CV is to secure job interviews by demonstrating your suitability for the roles you are applying for – money does not come into the equation at this stage.

There’s also an element of holding your cards close to your chest when it comes to salary details, if you want to secure the highest possible rate. For example, if a company is able to pay £40k for a job and you’ve already told them that you only want £35K in your CV, then you will make it very difficult to negotiate closer to the £40k mark when it comes to offer stage.

Making salary demands at such an early stage of the application can also seem a little forward in terms of job search etiquette, so wait until the initial telephone conversation to talk about remuneration.

Damage rating: Low

 

12. Logos and images

Logos on a cv

Logos and images aren't necessary in a CV; they often aren't formatted well and take up a lot of space on the page that could be better used describing your value with words.

Too many images can also inflate the file size of your CV and confuse CV scanning software, meaning delayed or failed delivery to some inboxes.

Keep things simple by using text only in your CV.

Damage rating: Low

 

13. Not including enough detail in current role

Your current (or most recent) role, is one of the most important factors in your CV.

After giving your CV a quick scan, most recruiters will jump straight to your current role and study it in some detail.

The reason for this is that your current role gives recruiters the greatest indication of what you’re currently capable of.

Not enough info in first role on CV

If you have rushed the addition of your latest job to your CV and you’re not including all of your newly acquired skills and experience, then you are doing yourself a great disservice.

When updating your CV, dedicate some serious time and effort to writing your latest role, it will pay off in the long run.

The only time this could be acceptable is if you are a recent school leaver and your most recent role is less relevant than  your education or other factors in the CV.

Damage rating: High

 

14. Too much detail in older roles

Employers don’t need to know all of your day-to-day responsibilities from a job that you did 10 years ago – they will only glance at them at most.

Older CV roles

When describing older roles, a short summary will suffice and free up space to add more details in recent roles.

Damage rating: Low

 

15. Crazy CV colours

Whilst a splash of colour has become more common in CVs recently (Especially when applying to less conventional firms); be cautious with the amount and type of colours you use.

If you're going to add a bit of colour then stick to safe colours and only use them in headings.

Don't go overboard by writing the whole CV in a bright neon colour or changing the background colour.

Colours on CV

When applying to traditional companies like banks or law firms, play it safe with black and white.

Damage rating: Medium

 

CV writing service  Free CV template

 

16. CV Skills graphs

CV Skills graphs

The idea behind CV skills graphs is that they give readers a quick visual demonstration of a candidate’s abilities in certain areas.

However the problem with skills graphs is that they offer no real tangible scale and often leave employers with no real indication of skill levels.

Instead of using skills graphs; stick to plain and simple facts written in text.

To give indications of skill levels that recruiters can actually relate to, use real life measurements such as;

  • Length of experience – “3 years HTML coding experience”
  • Qualifications and training - “Windows certified”
  • Scale of tasks – “Led a team of 5 in the management of a £50k event”

Damage rating: Medium

 

17. Inconsistent use of fonts

Inconsistent CV fonts

Few things make a CV look messier than a mish-mash of fonts scattered across the page.

Use one font throughout the whole CV or use one for the body of your writing and another for headings.

Damage rating: Medium

 

18. Excessive word repetition

Repeating a word several times in a short space of your CV shows poor written communication and a lack of creativity.

Repetition in CV

If you find that you have done this in your own CV, have a think about how you could restructure the sentence or head over to thesaurus.com to find some alternative words to replace your overused terms.

Damage rating: Medium

 

19. Messy CV page transitions

Your CV is a professional document and should be formatted accordingly. Messy page transitions like the one below, look sloppy and may worry recruiters.

Bad CV page transition

If you received a leaflet from a business and the information was poorly laid out like the above, you would probably have reservations about hiring them – the same is true of recruiters, when they see a poorly structured CV like this.

This is not a deal breaker but definitely worth fixing by adjusting your page margins or moving a section on the next page.

Damage rating: Low

 

20. Photographs

Photo on CV

Unless you’re a model or actor, then a photograph will not add value to your CV; especially not a professionally staged shot with an attempt at a profound looking pose. The best it will achieve is a few laughs from recruiters as it gets passed round the office for their amusement. 

Space on your CV is limited so use it wisely by filling it with compelling content that will convince the reader that you are worthy of an interview.

Damage rating: Low

 

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21. Too many pages

Too may pages on CV

A seven page CV is not going to be read by a busy recruiter or employer – they just don’t have the time when dealing with scores of applications.

Keep your CV as close to two pages as possible and make your points short and sharp, to ensure that you are communicating the important information quickly and creating a high impact CV.

Damage rating: Medium

 

22. Basic language

Your CV is supposed to be an impressive professional document and the language you use plays an important part in that.

If you use overly simplistic terminology throughout your CV, you run the risk of appearing as an average candidate with poor communication skills.

Avoid writing sentences like this;

"Helping out with different important tasks to free up time for the manager"

It looks very simple and isn’t very descriptive due to the basic wording.

Instead; use more precise terminology and well structured sentences to explain your points properly.

For example you could change the above to;

"Supporting various business critical functions to relieve management of administration duties"

Damage rating: High

 

23. Ordering roles incorrectly

Roles should be listed in reverse chronological order; meaning that you start with your current role at the top and work your way down to your oldest role.

CV Order

The reason for this, is that recruiters want to know what your current abilities are and they will study your current or most recent role in great detail to find out. They are not hugely interested in the roles you did 5 or 10 years ago, as you’ve probably progressed quite a lot since then.

This mistake is considered to be quite a clanger and not many people make it, so ensure that it’s not in your CV.

Damage rating: High

 

24. Unexplained Gaps in your CV

CV Gaps

Sometimes there will be gaps in your employment; it’s a fairly common occurrence for people to have time out of work.

But if you leave a big gap in your work history without explaining it, you will worry employers. It gives the impression that you just haven’t done anything for that period.

Don’t be afraid to write about time out travelling or completing personal projects when writing your CV. It’s better to show that you’ve been doing something constructive than nothing at all. Some employers even like to see activities like travelling as it can demonstrate pro-activity and social abilities.

Another thing you shouldn’t be ashamed of including, is time out due to serious illness. Illness is something that’s out of your control and good employers will not discriminate against you for it.

Damage rating: High

 

25. Sending your CV as a PDF

Do not send CV in PDF

Although it may seem like a good idea to send your CV as a PDF to give it a more polished look, there are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t.

  • It’s not editable:

Recruiters often have to make edits to your CV before sending on to a client or hiring manager as some companies have a standard format that all CVs in their process must be changed in to, or sometimes recruiters will just need to make a few tweaks to your CV before sending to clients/hiring managers. (e.g. removing contact details or highlighting experience)

If your CV is sent in PDF, recruiters cannot edit it and they will need to contact you and ask for an editable version, which will slow your application down and may even cost you an opportunity.

  • Microsoft Word is the most widely used and accepted CV format

99.9% of recruiters and hiring managers work with systems that are prepared to open and read Microsoft Word documents, so it’s best to use Word if you want to ensure your CV gets read.

Damage rating: Low

 

CV writing service  Free CV template

 

26. Including reference details

References on CV

Employers will not ask for reference details until offer stage, so there’s no need to waste space on your CV by including the names and addresses of 10 ex-managers.

More importantly, some less-scrupulous recruiters may contact referees without your permission in order to pitch their services – this could be damaging to your relationships.

Damage rating: Low

 

27. Poor file naming

When you email your CV to somebody, the document name can be clearly seen in the attachments.  If you haven’t give the file a suitable name, it can look a little unprofessional.

CV File name

Take a couple of seconds to change the file name to something that creates a more polished image. Your name followed by CV should suffice.

Damage rating: Low

 

28. Wasting space

Ideally you should be trying to fit your CV on to 2 pages, so leaving lots of blank space due to large page margins and gaps between sections is not a good idea.

Reduce your page margins, avoid using big gaps between sections and make sure you squeeze your contact details down into a small area at the top of your CV.

Focus on filling the limited space you have, with compelling reasons to hire you.

Damage rating: Low

 

29. Grammar mistakes

Strong candidates will be expected to have strong written communication skills, so grammar mistakes can seriously harm your credibility.

CV Grammar Mistakes

Proof read your CV to check for grammatical errors and use a grammar checking tool like Grammarly if you want further reassurance.         

You can also take a look at this infographic from CopyBlogger that shows the 15 most common grammar errors.

Damage rating: High

 

30. Spelling mistakes

 CV Spelling

With automatic spell checkers coming as standard with most word processing packages, you really shouldn’t have incorrectly spelt words on your CV.

It goes without saying that spelling mistakes will damage the perception of your CV massively.

Don’t become completely reliant on spellcheck to eliminate all errors though – it won’t always pick up typos or miss-used words, so take the time to proof read your CV.

Damage rating: High

 

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31. Writing in third person narration

Your CV is a communication between yourself and your potential employers; so it should be written accordingly in the first person narrative.

Third Person CV

CV’s written in third person narration break the communication channel slightly and can also appear a little arrogant and out-of-touch.

In my experience, third-person narration also tends to be a sign that the candidate may be a bit of a diva – which is not the image you should be projecting.

Write your CV in the first person narrative to connect with readers and demonstrate an unpretentious attitude.

Damage rating: Medium

 

32. Your date of birth or age

Employers do not need to know your date of birth or age to make a decision on whether to hire you or not - they only need to know if you have the right skills and experience.

Damage rating: Low

 

33. Your full address

CV Address

Similar to your date of birth, your full address is surplus to requirement. It will take up a lot of space on your CV and it’s more detail than recruiters need to see.

Instead of your full address, just include your general location (e.g. London, Manchester etc.) and if you are willing to relocate, then make that known also.

Damage rating: Low

 

Keep your personal information safe: Your date of birth and address are valuable pieces of information that can be used against you if they get in to the wrong hands.

If an ID thief gets hold of your name, address and DOB, they can potentially apply for finance in your name - so it’s best not to place these details on a document that you will be circulating online.

 

34. Strange or controversial interests

If you have any interests that may offend certain groups or give a slightly odd first impression of you – then just don’t include them.

At best they won’t make a difference, at worst they may lead to your rejection.

Damage rating: Medium

 

35. Padding

Sometimes candidates (especially junior candidates) will panic if their CV is coming in a bit short and try to “pad it out” by lengthening sentences and including surplus details.

Recruiters want to see the important facts quickly and padding will only weaken your message, so don’t try to lengthen your CV for the sake of it.

If you are worried that your CV is lacking anything, then scan LinkedIn for similar candidates to yourself and see if they are including any important information that you aren’t.

My CV writing guide will also help if you’re unsure of what your CV should include.

Damage rating: Medium

 

CV writing service  Free CV template

 

36. Lies

CV Lies

Lies on your CV such as improved qualifications or fabricated experience are not advised.

Do some people lie on their CV and get away with? Sure, some people probably do… but it's not worth the risk.

Firstly, diligent recruiters will look into facts that don’t add up, so you could find yourself getting caught out in the early stages and even blacklisted from certain agencies.

Secondly, if you manage to blag a job based on skills and experience that you don’t have; you’re going to struggle to perform from day one in the job, and will eventually get caught out anyway.

Damage rating: High

 

37. Overuse of personal pronouns

Recruiters and employers will understand who you are referring to without the need to frequently repeat the words I, me etc.

Sometimes you will need to include personal pronouns but it should be the exception rather than the rule.

As you can see from the examples below – the language flows a lot better and sounds more professional when you refrain from using personal pronouns.

CV personal pronouns

Damage rating: Medium

 

38. Leaving CV template instructions in

CV Template Instructions

Using a good CV template is a great way to get a head start in the writing of your CV, but make sure that you remove any instructions that are included in it.

This is a really sloppy mistake that will not go down well with recruiters and employers.

Damage rating: High

 

39. Unclear CV section divisions

In order for your CV to be easily navigated and look professional, you need to ensure that it’s sections are clearly defined.

A CV like this where sections aren't properly structured, is difficult to read and looks messy.

Poor CV sections

Clearly divide your CV sections with bold headings and sufficient spacing, for ease of reading and a professional outlook.

Damage rating: Medium

 

CV Mistakes - Conclusion

There are a number of mistakes to avoid when writing your CV which can cause of range of negative effects on your job applications.

As a minimum you should remove all of the high-damage mistakes but also try to remove all other mistakes when you have the time.

Don't let your CV stand out for the wrong reasons.

For further help in writing your CV, you can check out my Ultimate CV Writing Guide which comes with a free CV template.

 

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