Top 20 CV Writing Tips

November 21, 2012  |   Career Coaching Blog   |     |   0 Comment

We recently surveyed HR Directors and Managers to find out what they prefer to see in a CV. Based on their responses here are our Top 20 CV Writing Tips:


1. Don’t use the title ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top; it makes the document seem very old-fashioned.


2. Make sure you include clear contact details including a phone number with voicemail and an email address you check at least once a day.


3. Use a clear, simple layout with plenty of white space. Print your CV on good quality white paper.


4. Don’t include a photograph.


5. Write in short, focused sentences and paragraphs. Think newspaper article style rather than business report.


6. Offer short, uncomplicated explanations for any gaps in your CV.


7. Try to ensure that key words appear on the left hand side of the page, where the reader is more likely to see them.


8. Avoid empty adjectives and focus on concrete achievements.


9. Include details of voluntary work, community work, work placements and temporary or contract jobs if they communicate skills.


10. Write about any interests you have outside work that communicate good organisational or team working skills. Mention any language skills      you possess.


11. Communicate in the simplest language you can, using short, punchy language.


12. Don’t include excessive detail about jobs you did more than 10 years ago.


13. Make sure that your CV includes all of the relevant keywords or phrases that would be flagged up if your CV text is being searched electronically.


14. Don’t use obscure abbreviations, acronyms or jargon.


15. Use strong, one-word active verbs (e.g. researched, organised, created, initiated, led, changed, transformed, built, shaped, influenced) and avoid weak inactive verbs and phrases (e.g. took part in, participated in, was responsible for, helped to manage).


16. Don’t put yourself down or try irony or humour. It rarely reads the way you want it to.


17. Be accurate and honest about dates, job titles and qualifications.


18. Don’t include the names of referees – provide them separately if requested.


19. Don’t include your date of birth or age on your CV.


20. Do not include negative information e.g. reasons for leaving your last job. You will however need to prepare an honest interview answer on this kind of topic.


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