The ABCs of the CV

10 Nov 2021

The ABCs of the CV

As recruiters, we review hundreds of CV’s each day. Some CV’s impress from the outset, others have recruiters pulling their hair out. With the job market more buoyant than ever before, we thought it would be a good time to provide you with some hints and tips on preparing your CV. 

Top CV tips:

  • Format your CV in a simple style – A straightforward, neat CV presents better than CV’s with various boxes that format incorrectly. 
  • Break up your CV in to sections – Personal statement, education, experience, achievements, etc.

When detailing your work history – We would advise formatting each job entry in the following way:

  • Company name
  • Job title and dates (start month and year – end month and year)
  • Responsibilities- include promotions and dates of promotions etc
  • Achievements
  • Check, Check, Check for spelling mistakes – Spelling errors are the biggest turn off for hiring managers. It is ESSENTIAL you proof read your CV for spelling mistakes. 
  • Ensure your CV is consistent – Font style, size, using bold and underlining sub categories etc. You don’t want layout issues to let you down. 
  • Make sure your CV looks neat – Use bullet points, keep it concise, don’t have large blocks of text. Your CV should look clean and present you in a positive way. 
  • We would generally advise keeping your CV to no more than 2 pages. If you are in a senior role, would we advise no more than 3 pages.

Top CV mistakes to avoid:

Spelling mistakes – Spelling mistakes show a lack of attention to detail and makes the CV appear rushed. With a spell check available on most software programmes there really is no excuse for spelling mistakes.

Non-truths on your CV – Do not under any circumstances lie on your CV with relation to qualification or education in particular with relation to grades. Do not elevate your job title or responsibilities.

Lengthy CV’s – keep your CV short. Your CV should appear tailored and succinct. Your experience from 10 years ago is not as relevant as the experience you have gained in the last 5 years.

When drafting your CV, remember this is a hiring managers first impression of you. Your CV is not a “one size fits all” document and we would always recommend that candidates have a broad commercial CV which lists all of your qualifications, employers, and easily outlines your skills and experience. If you are a senior candidate with a broad range of skills, then keep it tailored and relevant to the opportunity you’re applying for, and if you keep the body of the document in line with the advice we have provided above, then you should be able to use the document again.  

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Brian Monteith

Brian Monteith

Senior Consultant – Financial Services