How to ace your CV

Hear from managing director and founder of The Interview Doctor, Sandie Barber, on why your CV needs to stand out.

I can’t stress enough the importance of writing a great Curriculum Vitae (CV). Many books have been written on the subject but, in fact, it is all very subjective; there is a right way of fixing a broken arm, but there isn’t a right way of writing a CV. Saying that having written literally thousands of them over a 30 year period and having placed thousands of candidates in jobs as a result, I like to think that I have a good idea of what future employers are looking for.

Here are my evergreen golden rules which always apply, regardless of the role you’re applying for:

1. Keep it snappy

Your CV should be no more than two pages long (unless the specific application requires it to be so – such as some professional or government positions)

2. Layout is key

The layout is very important.  Your name, the area in which you live, telephone number and email address should be prominent and easy to read

3. Embrace bullet points

The rest of the copy should be written in bullet form for clear and easy reading

4. Sing your praises

Your prospective employer wants to know what you’ve done and how you’ve done it well. Always focus on your achievements

5. Prioritise content

Keep the bits about your hobbies short. I hate to tell you this, but in my experience, HR generally isn’t interested, whatever they might tell you!

6. Work backward

Your previous job roles should be written in order of today; start with where you are employed now and work backward

7. Where are you at now?

It’s important to give an overview of your current position; your job title, who you report to, and your duties should be on there

8. Provide detail

Your reason for leaving should be at the end of each piece of employment – they’re more than likely going to ask you anyway if you secure an interview

9. No photos

Do not attach photos. This gives your prospective employer a way of judging you before you even get there. Trust me, they will!

And as a piece of parting wisdom, remember, your CV will help you get a foot in the door but it won’t get you the job. A brilliant interview will!

Make sure you take a look at all of our interview tips and techniques* to help you on your way…

Written by The Interview Doctor