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Getting the opportunity to be in front of prospective employees is essential. To enable this to happen you need to have a great CV.

As a prospective candidate, the temptation to try to put everything you can into your CV needs to be tempered by common sense and relevancy. Essentially you want to make room for the things that you want a hiring manager to know about you. By prioritising items that can improve your chances of getting hired. And by leaving off the things that hiring managers don’t need to know, your resume should hopefully present you as a compelling applicant.

One size does not fit all

If you want to impress in a competitive jobs market, tailoring your CV to the specific job description is vital. This might mean that it needs tweaking for every different role. Whilst this might seem timely, it will not be time wasted.

You need to make sure you thoroughly understand the requirements and expectations of the role and that you can show in your CV that you have experience of and are capable of doing what they specify. If there are keywords in the job descriptions, there is nothing wrong in including them in your CV as long as they are relevant/evidenced. Also remember there is such a thing as too much information, so don’t waffle on too much if you can help it.

Here is our advice for what to put in and leave off your CV:

CV essentials include:

Name – First and surname.

  1. Name – first and surname.
  2. Contact details including address, telephone number and email address – self-explanatory really, otherwise how will they ever contact you!
  3. Personal Statement – a few sentences stating who you are, the value you bring and what you are looking for.
  4. Employment history – most recent first. Write the company name, location, dates, job title and responsibilities.
  5. Education – most recent first. Add the name of the institution, location, qualification(s), subject(s), grade(s).
  6. Skills – make sure you include some around collaboration, communication, customer service, active listening, attention to detail, interpersonal, conflict resolution and problem solving.
  7. Achievements, awards, certificates and any other accolades – these can be academic, industry, work or volunteering-related.
  8. Professional affiliations, associations and memberships – these can highlight your involvement in your industry and demonstrate your commitment to your profession.
  9. Volunteering experience – adds value to your application if in a relevant field and can often supplement work history if changing careers or you are a new graduate.
  10. Hobbies and interests – preferably ones that show you align with the company’s offering and/or give the hiring manager a better understanding of your personality and abilities.

CV no-no’s include:

  1. Providing irrelevant personal information – age, sex, height, weight, date of birth, marital status, number of children, religion, or place of birth.
  2. Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors – remember your CV serves as a sample of your writing skills and evidence of whether or not you are detail-oriented.
  3. Unexplained gaps in employment – if you took a couple of years off while your children were young, state this or were between jobs for a bit, fill in the gap with volunteer or consulting work.
  4. Lying or misleading information – remember almost everything you say on your CV can be verified.
  5. References – You certainly need them but unless asked don’t include them.
  6. Jargon, abbreviations or buzzwords – don’t write anything that might limit the hiring manager’s understanding of your capabilities.
  7. Years/dates of exams, graduation etc.- this links to the first point about age/discrimination
  8. Too much irrelevant information about past jobs -focus instead of what makes you stand out, how you added value and your accomplishments.
  9. Charts, diagrams and photos – they’re not really necessary and won’t add anything to your CV.
  10. Contentious issues i.e., religious, political or sporting affiliations – this links to the first point again and relates to discrimination.

OK – so now you know what to and what not to include. Good luck. Remember if you are struggling and need some help to check over your CV, please get in touch – 07780 692784 or We offer a tailored CV writing service as well as interview preparation and coaching sessions, so you can get the job results you need.

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