How to write the perfect CV

On average, employers receive 50 applicants for every advertisement for a lower-skilled job, and 25 for higher-skilled jobs.

What’s interesting is that almost half of these candidates are perfectly suitable for the job, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

If this is correct, it is all the more important that your CV ‘stands-out’ from the crowd and catches the eye of the person reviewing it.

Industry experts say there are some ‘basic’ rules when it comes to writing a perfect CV, not least spelling, grammar and ensuring overall accuracy.

Try not to make the same mistakes as the accountant who stressed their “dew diligence”, or the job seeker who forgot the commas when describing their interests as “cooking cats and interesting people”.

Things to remember

When sending a CV, it should always be electronically, unless this isn’t allowed by the organisation you are applying to (most unlikely). All good word processing packages come with a competent spelling and grammar checker so make sure you use it (you really would be surprised how many people overlook this point!).

It is a widely held belief that the first person to ‘screen’ your application will give it no more than a 30-second glance, to assess initial suitability. So make sure it is very clear on page one of your CV, which of the skills you have that the job requires. Don’t make the reader have to search for this information.

Some more simple tips:

  • Tailor your CV for each job you apply for – most of the time this does not mean ‘mass’ edits, just ensuring that your skills reflect those required in the job spec
  • Short and to the point – whilst there is no magic number when it comes to the question of ‘how many pages’, two pages should be more than enough space for most people to list all the relevant points of information
  • Structure and headings are key – make sure your CV is structured correctly and easy to follow. This will vary from industry to industry, so give some thought to what the employer will want to see first
  • Check your CV, and then check it again! – avoid silly mistakes or errors. Take a fresh look the next day or ask for a second opinion from a trusted friend or colleague

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