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How to write the perfect CV

Many people believe your CV has to sell you within 60 seconds. So it is important to give the correct first impression!

The layout of your CV should vary a little depending on whether you have work experience or not.

CV layout for people with work experience

  • Personal Details
  • Work experience (newest to oldest)
  • Education / Qualifications
  • Other, e.g. hobbies and interests

CV layout for people with no work experience

  • Personal Details
  • Education / Qualifications
  • Work Experience (newest to oldest)
  • Other, e.g. hobbies and interests

Personal Details

The personal details section should ideally contain the following

  • Full name
  • Email
  • Mobile
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Marital Status
  • Nationality
  • Ethnicity
  • Professional looking photo (ideally smiling but not grinning from ear to ear)
  • Personal statement

Personal Statement

The personal statement should be no more than a couple short paragraphs, e.g.

Victoria has …. and is a …. looking to further her career as a ….

Make sure it doesn’t come across as cheesy.

Work Experience

Each job should be its own sub section and include the following

  • From (month/year)
  • To (month/year)
  • Job title
  • Summary
    • 2-4 sentences describing the role and core technologies used.
    • If you have worked on various projects at the same company then create sub sections for each with 2-3 sentences per key project and core technologies used.

If you have worked for many companies / projects they become less relevant with the passing of time so you should consider reducing them to From, To and Job Title especially if your CV is longer than 2 pages. The fact that you programmed in Visual Basic 6 in the 1990s is irrelevant to what you are likely to be applying for now.

General

  • It is important that your CV is clearly laid out.
  • Your CV should ideally fit on 2 pages.
  • Don’t be afraid to use whitespace as it can make reading easier.
  • Bullet points can make information easier to read but be careful not to overdo it.
  • If you wish to use colour do so but be careful not to make your CV look like a rainbow.
  • Make sure you check your CV for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Make sure your CV does not differ from your Linkedin profile as people may check your public record.

Once you have written the perfect CV you should learn how to prepare for an interview.