Five Tips for a more effective CV
1. Remember that a CV is essentially a sales document. Its primary function is to get you to the next stage in an application process – a meeting with an employer. Like any sales literature for a product or service it must always be truthful, concise, and leave the reader wanting more.
2. Make it easy to read with the reader doing a minimum of page turning. The ideal CV is one page (the norm in the US), two pages maximum.
- Use wide margins and a smaller font size to get more information on the page
- Use only one line for all your contact details
Example: 23 Any St., London SW6 6AA T:07900 1005306 E: email@example.com
- Summarise your academic qualifications on two lines maximum
Example: MA Journalism Old College London; BA Hons 2:2 Media Studies Redbrick University; 3 ‘A’ Levels (Media Studies A, French C; History B); 6 GCSEs incl Maths and English – Blah School, Anytown
- List age, DOB, gender, marital status, nationality on one line
Example: Age 27 – 27/06/1978; Female; Single; Australian (with UK right to work)
- Use summaries with bullet points rather than narrative
- Use more space for your last two jobs and much less for earlier positions.
3. List achievements not just responsibilities in your present and past positions, and also in your interests/hobbies etc. Employers need to know not just what your responsibilities were but what you actually achieved in your last job, and also outside work as it gives them an insight into your character. Fight against British cultural conditioning and blow your own trumpet just this once!
- Started as Junior, promoted twice to end working on company’s largest account list
- Developed new system to improve internal communication
- (In interests section) Walked up Kilimanjaro and raised £2000 for charity
4. Write in reverse chronological order – what you are doing now, or you did last, is the most interesting for a prospective employer
5. Brevity is the soul of wit. Don’t ramble on - use an economical writing style.