How to write a standout CV

Follow our top 10 tips for creating the perfect CV and you’ll be getting suited and booted for your interview in no time.

The job market is getting more competitive by the day, as highly-qualified candidates fiercely compete for the top jobs. A carefully constructed CV is your chance to make that vital first impression, showing prospective employers the experience, skills and talents that you have to offer. Recruiters reportedly spend five to seven seconds looking at your CV before making a judgement, so you need to know how to grab their attention, fast.

Follow our top 10 tips for creating the perfect CV and you’ll be getting suited and booted for your interview in no time.

  1. Keep it brief 

One or a maximum of two pages is enough. You may have plenty to shout about but a lengthy document will just put recruiters off reading further.

  1. Make it relevant

Tailor your CV to suit each role you are applying for because nothing puts a recruiter off more quickly than a generic CV.

  1. Work experience

 Start with your current or most recent position and work backwards. Fill in the gaps – if there are any, whether you were raising children or volunteering, for example – explain them.

  1. Use keywords

Recruiters are experts at scanning CVs for the keywords that match candidates most closely to the role so read the job description and person specification carefully, and match the key criteria.

  1. Keep it short & list your achievements

Don’t just list what you did every day, say what you achieved, for example, ‘I increased the sales of Product X from £25,000 to £50,000 in X months’.

  1. Do your research

Read up on the company and ask around any contacts who already work there to get a feel for what the company culture is and what they’re looking for.

  1. Education, qualifications & skills

List these briefly, along with the grades attained. Include any IT skills and additional languages spoken and also include the names of any professional bodies of which you are a member.

  1. Add your interests

 This isn’t essential, but it gives a prospective employer an idea of who you are as a person. They’re looking for well-rounded individuals, not workaholics.

  1. Clean up your social media

Whether you like it or not, recruiters often look at the social media presence of prospective employees, so if you wouldn’t say it if your grandma was in the room, don’t say it online.

  1. Proof, proof, proof

Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar and get another pair of eyes to proofread it too to catch any clangers that may have slipped through.