Top tips for writing a perfect CV

Where do CVs go wrong?

If you want your CV to be shortlisted, you have to make it very easy for the employer to see why you are the

ideal candidate for the role by emphasizing your relevant skills and experience.  The way your CV is presented

will also be subject to scrutiny. For instance, you may claim to have great attention to detail or be an excellent

communicator, but the employer is unlikely to believe this if your CV is sloppily presented or the language you

use is clumsily expressed.

*** These are the pitfalls to avoid

1. Lack of relevant information


Many candidates make misplaced assumptions about what is important to the employer and so fail to provide the

relevant information in their CV. Do your research and show that you have the specific skills, experience and

approach required within the first half page of your CV, so the recruiter can quickly see your suitability.

2. Insufficient evidence

Unsubstantiated claims won’t work. You need to prove you have what they need. So instead of your CV saying

you have 'good communication skills', give an example of where you demonstrated this to good effect.

e.g: 'write monthly blog on company developments as part of our social media strategy'. 

3. Too generic


Many candidates write a broad CV because they want to keep their options open. However, unless it is clear who

you are and what you do, then recruiters won’t know what to do with you.

4. Errors


Nine out of 10 CVs have errors on them and are often rejected on that basis alone. Your CV must be impeccably

presented if you want to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail. Always ask someone else to

check it over for you.

5. Negative information


Your CV should include only positive information. Never criticize a previous employer or refer to difficulties or

disappointments unless you were able to turn them around. 

6. Poor language


The use of jargon, clumsy expression or clichés can sabotage the chances of even the most capable of

candidates. Instead of using the 'I' pronoun, such as I did this, I did that', use positive action words to lead bullet

points e.g. 'Initiated this, created that”, which will seem much more dynamic. This will give a very energetic feel

to your CV and help reinforce the message that you are an upbeat, 'can-do' type of candidate.

7. Software issues

When you apply online for a role, your CV is scanned by software before human eyes ever see it.  Formatting 

options like columns, shading, boxes etc may look nice, but they could interfere with the software’s ability to

store the information on your CV. So make your CV as plain as possible or if you are uploading a Pdf file, make 

sure it is compatible with the software. Online recruiters will use key words to search for CVs containing particular

skills and qualifications, so ensure that your CV includes the relevant key words likely to be used.

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