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CV Dos & Don’ts

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We asked our specialist recruitment consultants across a number of industries what they think are the most crucial dos and don’ts for candidate CVs.


Dos

Structure

Good CV structure is so important. You can do this by:

  • Arranging your work history and education separately according to date and in chronological order. Keep education and work history in separate sections of the CV.
  • Don’t use borders or tables or strange fonts or pictures/images. Always apply in word format, in standard text form. This might not apply to marketing jobs but I know financial services do not enjoy it.
  • The formatting should be uniform and consistent.
  • If you’re using bullet points, they should all be the same style and alignment.
  • You should follow an obvious pattern. If you’re using Italics for role and Bold for organisation, you need to do this for every role.


Details

The more detail you give about your work history the easier it is for a recruiter/hiring manager to understand your experience, and know if you are suited to a particular role. Jobseekers often put just one word to describe their duties and when you consider the competition out there this isn’t enough detail to stand out. Statistics, facts and figures are essential. If you hit targets, made sales, achieved goals, employers want to see the exact numbers and/or percentages. 


Achievements

Include what you’ve achieved in your professional career. Awards and certificates are very impressive to hiring managers. However, they don’t always have to be job related awards, they can be personal achievements too e.g. completed a marathon, raised money for charity, served on a community or student committee etc. It’s good to show on your CV that you’re outgoing and achieve goals outside of work.


Extra Curriculars

If you play sport or music etc. include this on your CV. This will make you stand out. However, don’t include ridiculous hobbies. Charity work and current hobbies are acceptable, but don’t put down hobbies for the sake of it, like “I enjoy walking”. Use that space on your CV for something more relevant.



Don’ts

Don’t Leave Gaps

Hiring managers like to see exact timeframes on CVs. Dates on your CV should include month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates. This can look suspicious to employers. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them.


Don’t Include Graphics

Leave out fancy graphics, complicated formatting and decorative pictures where possible. They just tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed.


Don’t Forget to Include Contact Details

You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you but often CVs get forwarded around and saved on hard drives/desktops so the original email you sent could get lost along with your contact email address. Always put your email address and contact number on your CV.


Don’t use Personal Details

It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively.


Posted by Clare Reynolds on 27 March 2018

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