Designing the perfect CV
The first step in any job application is making sure that your CV is working for you. In other words, are you highlighting the right information you want to communicate to your audience? Are you promoting your skills, experience and attributes in the best way you can?
You can find a guide to putting a great CV together below. However, there are also some key things to steer clear of, such as the use of text boxes and using the wrong fonts. All Recruitment professionals and indeed people who are hiring staff within organisations, tend to close CVs if they are difficult to read or seem overly complicated. Here are our tips on what to avoid;
- The wrong font and font size. This is a personal choice of course, but use something clear and easy to read such as Calibri or Arial. They are the most widely used and look the clearest when reading them back. Font sizes vary but anywhere between 9 and 11 should be sufficient
- Text Boxes – It's advised not to use them on CVs, they generally create alignment problems and formatting issues.
- Don’t add any fancy graphics, or designs to the CV unless you are a graphic designer. The hiring fraternity just doesn’t want to see them. In most cases, they make up for a lack of information in the CV
- Don’t limit your CV to just two pages. A lot of Recruiters will advise otherwise, but our experience suggests that critical information can be missed on a CV if you are struggling to get it onto two pages. People with CVs containing 4 or 5 pages, get offered new jobs as well. If you have a strong career history over many years, why hide it away, when it could be critical to your next career move?
- Don’t hide the truth. If you have had a career break or have been out of work, then add it to the CV as a Career break or “Actively seeking new employment”. People want honesty, and reference checking will pick this up. It will waste everyone’s time, including yours.
- Don’t include extensively long paragraphs, as people will not want to read through to find the information. Use bullet points instead. This will make it much easier to highlight things you wish to share clearly
Please see the template below. This is just a guide to what a strong CV should look like. The rest is up to you.
Insert Your Name
email@example.com - <Insert Phone number>
<Insert full address here>
Nationality – Marital Status
A personal statement should be a brief overview about you, highlighting your professional attributes, goals, and aspirations. It is also vital that you promote why someone should be interested in employing you. I would suggest a few lines or a short paragraph should be enough.
“I am a highly skilled manufacturing engineer, with over 15 years’ experience working in the automotive sector, with a particular bias towards electronic systems integration. I am looking for an opportunity to move into a manufacturing team leadership or management role. I can offer a new employer; a professional engineer with a first-class attitude, strong skill set, commitment and the drive to realise my full potential”
This is a good place to list in bullet format, any key achievements that you are proud to have been part of or led yourself. Remember that employers are keen on understanding what you have actually done yourself, not what your colleagues have achieved.
Typical achievements may be something like;
- I led an improvement programme that resulted in a significant cost saving of £500,000 p/a
- I designed a unique project management process that resulted in the improved performance of the project team, meaning that I could deliver the project ahead of time and with a significant increase in profits.
HIGHER EDUCATION / PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
BA (Hons) 2:1, Subject Name - September 2008 - June 2012.
University of Example-town
- You can help sell yourself with a few bullet points on what were some of your goals and achievements during your time at university
- If any skills were learnt that relate to the job you’re applying for, it would be a good idea to mention those to further align yourself with their criteria
Any Professional industry qualifications or Chartered membership
- (example; “Prince 2 Practitioner, CEng, APMP, MCIPS etc.”)
Add in any key skills you have or software packages you have used professionally, such as the following for example
- DOORS Requirements Management
- Pro Engineer Wildfire
Company Name - www.whateveryouwant.co.uk
Dates of Employment (date format should be Month YYYY e.g. September 2016 – June 2017)
- Provide key achievements within a role and try to highlight the skills used to obtain your goal
- Try to avoid soft terms like “Dynamic” or “high energy” and aim for skills used within the role – such as “MATLAB, Simulink, or C++”
- Provide enough information to entice your potential employers to call you
- Always keep examples relevant to the role you are applying for
Company Name - www.whateveryouwant.co.uk
Dates of Employment
For older jobs you should keep the details slightly shorter, remembering to include your dates of employment and key skills obtained/applied to achieve your goals.
- Try to avoid cliché phrases that don’t differentiate you as a candidate
- Always tailor your CV for each job application to match the requirements
- Try not to waffle if you feel like you don’t have much to write in this area. Succinct to the point CVs will be preferred as they are quick to read and won’t be generic
SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
If you are looking for your first job and do not have much or any work experience at this point – do not fret. Expand on your education responsibilities and apply them to real-life scenarios so an employer has an understanding of what you have achieved and the means used to get these achievements.
A-Levels, June 2006 – June 2008
Business Studies: A
GCSE’s, June 2003 – June 2008
Feel free to list these out in bullets or a table. If you lack experience for a role that you are deeply passionate about, you may want to mention how you use your spare time to pursue this passion. Be it in reading around the subject matter or expanding your technical skills.
References are available on request.