17 January 2013

Top Tips For A CV That Actually Works


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Career development


Your CV is the one element of your search for a new career that you control. Spending hours, if not days, remembering every aspect of your life to include in your CV may seem like the best thing to do, but the truth is, if you get the interview, 40% of the decision process is based on your personality. Knowing what to include on your CV (and what not to include) will get you that face to face meeting.

What to include on your CV/Resume

  • Firstly, do your research. Look online at the company’s website and get to know everything about them, this shows that you’re serious and care about the position you’re attempting to get. Once you know about the company, you can tailor your CV to suit the role you’re trying to fill. You don’t want to over do this, copying and pasting paragraphs from their careers page for instance, simply include meaningful keywords that match the company ethics and role requirements.
  • Use a simple layout for your CV, make sure it’s clear and easy to read; many recruitment departments will not spend too long reading each CV and so a limit of two pages should be set.
  • Make sure your contact information is clear and at the top of your CV.
  • List your current (or most recent) company/role first and then work backwards. 
  • When listing accomplishments and successes in previous roles, you don’t need to write a paragraph for each, instead, try to keep each one to a single sentence such as “Managed Sales team”.
  • Be specific in your accomplishments. If you increased profits by 20%, say so and provide relevant high-level stats.
  • Use a standard system font like Arial, avoid fonts like Comic Sans.
  • Regularly update your CV, this ensures that you have your latest achievements listed and also maintains interest on job sites.
  • Check your spelling. Then check it again.

What not to include on your CV/Resume

  • Avoid meaningless buzzwords, these add nothing to your CV.
  • Avoid information regarding irrelevant achievements, awards or interests.
  • Get rid of any photo of yourself, it has nothing to do with whether or not you’re right for the job.
  • Don’t list every task associated with each previous role, concentrate on accomplishments.
  • Don’t start your CV with your objectives, employers care about their objectives first and foremost.
  • Don’t try to be amusing or make jokes in your CV. You may think this will be thought of as endearing, but it’s not professional.

CV/Resume Resource

There are a number of CV templates available online on sites such as ThemeForest.