Writing a CV can be daunting. It’s an all-important first impression that can get you in the door, and it’s as much about what you should do as what you definitely shouldn’t. You probably think you’re in the know when it comes to CVs, but you’d be surprised by how many simple mistakes we see on a daily basis. We’ve rounded up some top tips from our consultants on the dos and don’ts when it comes to your Curriculum Vitae.
Thou shalt not tell lies. This seems obvious, but it happens all the time. Be honest with yourself. Do you really speak conversational French? What if someone asked you to speak it in the interview? Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer. If someone asks you if you’ve done something before and you haven’t, tell the truth. It’s better to be willing to learn on the job than get caught out on your first day.
Do not use a stupid font. Comic sans will not make you look quirky, it will make you look incompetent, and distract from what you really want people to see, all your brilliant experience. Don’t feel bound to Times New Roman, but make sure your CV is legible.
Do not swear. Swearing on your CV isn’t edgy, it’s unprofessional and that’s not the kind of first impression you want to make. Your CV isn’t supposed to shock, it’s there to impress, so wow us with your language skills that don’t involve *#@$?£*%
We don’t need to hear your life story. It’s a CV, not a memoir so keep it to two pages where possible. Condense your experience into bullet points. Employers and consultants are often looking at hundreds of CVs a day. Make it easy for them to see that you’re a good fit.
Summarise why you’re a fit for the role at the top of your CV, and tailor every CV to the individual role you’re applying for. One size does not necessarily fit all.
Do check your contact details are up to date. Missing a call from your dream job because your mobile number’s changed is an easily avoidable mistake.
Don’t put your picture on your CV. It allows people to form an opinion of you before they’ve met you, and people shouldn’t need to judge you on your looks.
If you’re a creative, have a creative CV. Use this opportunity to show us your skills. A designer with a black and white CV doesn’t inspire huge confidence. Play with the format but remember to keep it legible. We still need to see that all important experience.
Put your most recent experience at the top. We know you might be proud of that A* in GCSE science but what we really want to know is what you’ve been up to most recently. Keep your grades on the second page.
Last but not least, do not apply for a job you’re not qualified for. You won’t look ambitious, you’ll look delusional. If you’re not sure whether you’re qualified or not, ask your consultant about your transferable skills. They are the experts after all.