How NOT to write your CV

Your CV is your selling point, it is the first interaction between you and your future employer. Having a good CV can make all the difference to getting your foot in the door at a company. There are plenty of rules to writing that perfect CV, but there are also plenty of rules on how NOT to write a CV.

The Basics

Don’t: forget about it!

Your CV has to include some basic points about you, no matter what role you are applying for. Your CV should always include your contact details, profile and main achievements, education and training, work experience and other relevant skills. Use these points to form the basis of your CV, forgetting them can make your CV seem a bit empty.


Don’t: ramble on for page after page.

Keep it short! The rule of thumb is 2 pages maximum for your CV, however we do understand that contractors and candidates in the data and analytics industry may have to include more, therefore we recommend no longer than 4 pages. If your CV is longer you risk losing the attention of the recruitment consultant or hiring manager.


Don’t: have a standard CV that you send to every role you apply for.

Having a general version of your CV that suits your skillset is a good idea, however if you are applying for role with a specific need for one of your skills customise your CV to this. For example, if the role you are applying for needs a candidate with strong Java skills, make sure you mention this throughout your experience and in the personal summary. Don’t forget that the initial CV ‘reading’ may be automated and you don’t want your CV to get missed.


Don’t: over complicate it.

You don’t need to be using bright colours or pictures to make your CV stand out, just simple formatting can do the trick. Making sure you have correct spacing between points and titles can make it easier to read and can help the recruiter pick out certain sections.


Don’t: forget to do a spell check.

This one is pretty obvious, but it does happen when we get a CV full of spelling mistakes. Make sure you use the spellcheck function and to be extra sure, ask a friend or family member to do a second spell check for you.


Don’t: use internal jargon or phrases.

If you are using a lot of internal jargon that is specific to the company you currently work for, the chances are the recruitment consultant or hiring manager won’t understand it. Use more commonly known terminology and data related jargon instead.


Don’t: sacrifice relevant information to fit this in.

If you’re struggling to fit all the information you want included in your CV on 4 pages or less, don’t worry about adding your hobbies. It is better to remove this section than relevant experience and skills. If you do have some unique skills that add to your character then do include these in a small section at the end, but it is not essential.

Cover Letter

Don’t: forget about it!

The covering letter is so important to your CV. It really can be the difference of a hiring manager taking attention and wanting to speak to you. A personalised, well thought-out cover letter can be really effective.

To make sure you write the best CV avoid making these mistakes, no CV is perfect but getting the basic information right can push in the best direction.

What would you avoid putting on your CV? What is your best advice to writing a CV?

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best Information Management and Data Analytics jobs. For more CV writing tips and career advice check out the KDR blog or follow KDR on LinkedIn.

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