The Good CV Guide
3 steps to the best “professional you”

Writing a CV can be daunting but with a little preparation, research and some insider tips, your CV will become the canvas you need to pinpoint your talents and achievement. The CV is a recruiter's first insight into you as a candidate. The aim is to highlight why you are suited to the role, how your skills reflect what they are looking for and offer a personal insight into your character.

The best way to start your CV is to consider it as a Sales Brochure that tells employers what, when, and how well you have achieved your objectives. It should be concise, accurate but full of relevant information. Limit yourself to 2 - 3 pages, as this will ensure you only write the important facts.

Step one - The structure

The best way to start your CV is to consider it as a Sales Brochure that tells employers what, when, and how well you have achieved your objectives

Before you begin you should start by forming your CV Skeleton:

  • Profile Statement
  • Personal Data
  • Work Experience
  • Achievements
  • Career ambition
  • Associations
  • Interests & Activities
  • Use facts and figures, don’t waffle

Step two - Creating the body of your CV

  • Your Profile Statement

    The profile is your CV introduction; a simple statement that highlights your career aspirations, ambitions and your current skillset. This is an easy way to highlight key skills you think the employer is looking for in approximately 80 words. You may be applying for a role where multitasking is essential, therefore that you "thrive in fast-paced environments" could be an advantage.

  • Getting personal - personal information

    The personal information needs to be up to date and accurate. If an employer likes your CV but cannot find a telephone number or email address, then your CV may be discarded. Ensure that your CV includes your name, address with postcode, telephone numbers and an email address.

    When it comes to email address - try not to use a personal email with a frivolous address. i.e. Kittylovestoparty@email.com is possibility going to considered less serious than johnsmith@email.com.

    Your education and achievements should be listed in reverse chronological order - this is the easiest way to read. If applicable start with your professional qualifications, then move onto your further education ending with your higher education achievements.

  • Where you've been - Work Experience

    This is the main part of your CV, the part the employer really cares about. When highlighting your Work Experience start with your current/most recent position highlighting your activities and achievements with the greatest detail. Now move back through your job history.

  • All about you - associations & interests

    Make your CV personable. The aim is to offer a well-rounded view; the work side and the human side. At the end of the day, you will be spending considerable time with your employer and their new teams and you must easily adapt to their culture. Include any memberships/associations you are involved with followed by a concise range of interests. You should mention here whether you are keen to relocate if the role location does not match your address.

Step three - Review

Always check your CV through. It may feel like you have been writing to for a long time but you must leave it and go back and review. This ensures you've not written glaring grammatical, spelling or content no-no's.

Use this checklist to make sure your CV is in tip-top condition:
  • Is it a true representation of who you are?
  • Does it highlight at least five key strengths and/or achievements?
  • Does it sound like someone you would employ?
  • Does it cover what you want to do in the future?
  • Have you stated your mobility and flexibility regarding location?
  • Does it provide quantified indicators of the organisations for whom you have worked?
  • Is your telephone number up to date?