Jump to Navigation

How to Write an Effective CV

How to Write an Effective CV

Make sure your CV has a clear structure - include career overview, skills overview, qualifications (education/professional) and employment history.

Your CV should be no more than two pages long. Think quality, not quantity. On average, readers absorb 60% of the first page, 40% of the second, and the third is generally a waste - this has been proven time and time again.

Use an effective summary on the first page and include a list of your key skills (and key applications) in bold. You want to make an impact on the reader.

Employers often make up their mind from reading the initial summary and key skills. So, it is always worthwhile noting the quantity of experience you have for each key skill, e.g. Business Analysis (5 Years), Database Design (4 Years), etc.

Tailor the CV to the company/department and position whenever possible - although this may be time-consuming, it could help you clinch that job! So, in the 'position sought' section, always tailor the role to the one on offer.

Put the greatest emphasis on your last few roles, and summarise older roles.

Always begin with your most recent position - include dates and months of employment for each. Do not indicate "to present" if you are no longer in the position as some employers may actively be looking for only those candidates who can commence immediately (especially if contract).

Don't include your required salary. You cannot win - the figure will often be too high, or sometimes even too low. You can negotiate the pay after you've got the job!

Do not provide personal data such as age, marital status, graduation dates, weight, height, place of birth and items of this nature. You can include information about your interests, but keep it short. Don't enclose a picture.

There is no need to include your 'hobbies' - if you enjoy 'walking in the Pennines', it will have no bearing on your suitability in most technical roles! If you have some outstanding achievements, such as 'Olympic rower' or suchlike, there is clearly no harm in mentioning this, and it may enhance the interview.

Be positive - don't be too modest and don't lie about your experience. Positive thinking is vital in securing that next role.