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Preparing a CV

CV's are also called a variety of things including curriculum vitae and resume. The most important attribute of a successful CV is that it clearly explains to the reader what it is that you can do for them.

Your CV should be:

  • A well-presented, selling document
  • A source of interesting, relevant information
  • A script for talking about yourself

The purpose of your CV is not to get you the job. Its purpose is to get you an interview, and after your meeting to remind the person you met with about you.

Remember you are not writing a CV for yourself, you are writing it for the employer / recruiter. So put yourself in the shoes of the reader when you prepare your CV.

When you submit a printed CV to a potential employer, it is likely to be the first thing they get to see or read of yours. Therefore, you need to present your CV well and make it user friendly.

For example:

  • In most cases, be conservative and print your CV in black ink on white paper. Covering letters should use identical stationery. 
  • Lay your CV out neatly.
  • Don't make the margins too deep or too narrow.
  • Resist writing lengthy paragraphs - be concise.
  • Careful use of bold type can be effective.
  • Typefaces such as Times New Roman or Arial are fairly standard.
  • Do not use a type size less than 11pt.
  • Check for spelling or typographical errors - don't rely on a spell checker. If you're not sure about a word, resort to a dictionary. Sloppiness and lack of care could be heavily penalised.

This is what a CV must include:

  • It must meet the needs of the target organisation where possible.
  • This means a single generalist CV is unlikely to be sufficient. 
  • It must highlight your achievements and how they relate to the job you are applying for. It must give the reader a clear indication of why you should be considered for this role.

To decide what to include in your CV and where, follow these principles and guidelines: 

  • Generally, the document should contain no more than 2 pages.
  • Your CV should be honest and factual. 
  • The first page should contain enough personal details for a recruitment consultant or potential employer to contact you easily. 
  • Choose a presentation format that allows you to headline key skills, key achievements or key attributes.
  • Your employment history should commence with your current or most recent job and work backwards. 
  • Achievements should be short, bullet-pointed statements and include your role, the action you took and a comment on the result of your action.
  • Where information clearly demonstrates your suitability for the vacancy you're applying for, and enhances your chances of being short-listed, include this information near the beginning of the CV. 
  • Leave out information that is irrelevant or negative. 
  • Include details of recent training or skills development events you have attended which could be relevant. 
  • List all your professional memberships and relevant qualifications.

The most common contents of a CV include: 

  • Personal Details
  • Skills and Career Summary
  • Key Achievements
  • Qualifications
  • Career History

For additional help with your CV, download our CV Template here.


Perms:   020 3196 2100

Temps:   020 3196 2104

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