Peak Potential's Top 10 CV Writing Tips

Whether you love them or hate them, CVs are still the most common way of introducing yourself to a prospective employer. A good CV can double your chances of getting an interview as well as create a great first impression.

Regardless of format, the hints below will stand you in good stead for applying for any role.

Our top 10 hints include:

  1. Make sure your CV is relevant for the job you are applying for, not a list of historical data which bears no resemblance to your next move. This is particularly important if you are seeking a career change. There are many different styles of CV so be sure to select the one that will support your application most favourably. If in doubt ring and ask the prospective employer about their preferred format and sifting approach.

  2. Give a prospective employer good reason to put you on the 'yes' pile by demonstrating how you will add value to their role requirements. Show them how you have fulfilled a similar requirement in the past and what the results and outcomes were. Achievements are important for any CV these days; it shows that you understand where you add value to a team and/or organisation as a whole. 

  3. Tailor your cover letter to the job/company you are applying to.  This is your chance to highlight any additional skills and experience not covered in the application as well as demonstrate your research about the company or role.

  4. Check for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors (if this isn’t one of your strengths, get someone else to check it for you).

  5. If you’re going to use a profile statement, make sure it sells you into the role you want, not the role/company you’ve been working in previously. If you are going to use a Job Title and Key Skills in the statement, use similar language that the recruiter is using.

  6. The layout should have plenty of white space and be easy to read. If it's typed in anything less than font size 11 then it might be a sign that it's too long and cramped. Make it easy for the recruiter. If you're tailoring your CV appropriately, then it needn't be war and peace anyway!

  7. For those with many years' experience, the last 10 years’ is probably most relevant so summarise the rest. 

  8. Find out the essential keywords (skills, strengths and competencies required for your industry/role) and use them in your CV. This is important as your CV might be sifted through an electronic matching or online system.

  9. Keep it to 2 – 3 pages max. As with points 1 and 6, if you have tailored your CV appropriately, it needn't be any longer in length than 2 pages. Make sure that the most relevant information is on page 1 so that you 'hook' the recruiter from get go.

  10. Never lie or embellish the truth. 

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes – would you want to interview you?