Creating the perfect CV

When applying for a job your CV is the first point of contact so it is essential you get it right. As a recruiter I see hundreds of CVs, some good and some bad, no CV is perfect but it should be tailored to each person and each role but keeping a set template can set you off in the correct direction.

Here are my top tips to create that perfect CV!


Your CV should have each of these 5 basic points;

  • Contact details.
  • Profile and main achievements
  • Education/training
  • Work experience
  • Other relevant skills

No matter what industry you work in or what role you are applying for these basics need to be on your CV and should form the basis of it.


The length of a CV can depend on each person and their experience; however as a recruiter we have a rule of thumb that no CV should be shorter than 2 pages and no longer than 4.

This is especially true depending on experience, for example if you are a graduate there is no reason why your CV should be longer than 2 pages – if you find yourself going over this try cutting it down and making your points more concise.

On the other side if you are a contractor who has undertaken multiple short-term contracts your CV is bound to be longer but do try to keep it within 4 pages otherwise you risk losing the interest of the recruitment consultant or hiring manager.


It’s important to have a general version of your CV that suits your skillset but if you are applying for a role make sure you read the job description and customise your CV accordingly.

This doesn’t mean lie about your experience but there may be things in the job specification that you have done before but not necessarily thought are important. These things might actually be vital for the role you are applying for. Tailoring your CV to a specific job can really make your CV stand out from the rest.


There’s no trick to this… just don’t over complicate it.

You don’t need to use bright colours or pictures to make your CV stand out; the way you format it is more important. Make sure you have good spacing between sections and titles are clear so it is easier on the eye.

It can be different depending on experience but I would always recommend bullet pointing your experience rather than long paragraphs as this makes it easier to read for the recruitment consultant and can allow them to pull out key points.

Your profile and achievements should always be at the top of your CV, highlighting what successes you have had in previous roles in the first paragraph can really make your CV stand out.

You should also keep your most relevant attributes to the top, if you’re a recent grad, start with your education, if your graduated 20 years ago then talk about your most relevant roles.


This one is obvious, but spellcheck your CV! Get your friend to proof read your CV and then your friend’s friend. It’s remarkable how often I come across a CV rife with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.


Try not to use internal phrases or jargon; it is unlikely this is going to mean anything to anyone outside of your office so make sure you refer to more commonly known terminology instead.

This is especially important in the market I recruit in but use keywords that are relevant to your experience but also the role you are trying to secure as this will allow potential hiring managers and recruitment consultants to find you.


If you are struggling to fit the content in the allocated pages then don’t sacrifice relevant experience to tell the hiring manager that you like going to the cinema and socialising.

However, if you have some unique hobbies that you think add to your character then there’s no harm including a small section at the end of your CV.

Cover Letter

Cover letters can be so important when applying for a role; it can make the difference of a potential hiring manager taking note and picking up the phone.

This is a fantastic opportunity to show a hiring manager that you read the job specification and make relevant points as to why you feel you are a strong candidate and what you can bring to the role.

In addition to this, when you know the company you are applying for, go away and do your research, check the company out and explain why exactly you want to work for them.

This is also a great chance to explain anything such as gaps in employment or anything else in your CV that needs further explanation.

What are your top tips to writing a CV? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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This blog was originally published by Mike on LinkedIn. To view the original article, click here.

Mike Thacker-Cooke

September 22nd, 2016 View my profile

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