10 Tips to Write a Successful CV


From the content and language, to the style and format, it is vital that every element of your CV is immaculate. To help with this we’ve used our expert advice to collate the best CV writing tips to help you get noticed for the perfect job.

  1. Don’t forget the basics
    Although this may seem simple it is often missed out, it’s important that you don’t forget to include your contact details. Without these your CV will go straight in the bin; they won’t spend time trying to find you.
  2. Stand out
    Your opening statement or key skills need to reflect your personality: be unique. What makes you different? How will your CV stand out amongst hundreds of applications?
    In 2014, The Telegraph posted an article saying that the average time spent reading a CV is 30 seconds. To hold interest, choose a font and layout which is easy to read and provides a nice flow. Use of headers and bold/underline is essential.
  3. Only tell them what they need to know
    There is no legal requirement to list every job you have ever had in a CV. If you have significant experience and are struggling for space, anything over 20 years is not usually asked. Dates such as months/years is useful against the jobs as this provides reassurance on any employment gaps.
  4. Tailor your CV to the role
    Make a potential employer see you as the perfect candidate therefore your CV should be specific to the job role which you apply for. Ensure the key competencies the employer is seeking are visible and evident. Changing your opening statement of key skills to reflect the job posting makes all the difference.
  5. Use language to make you look better
    Put a positive spin on your CV. For example, instead of heading up “qualifications”, call it academic achievements. Under the description of each job, don’t just state an overview of the job role, but describe your accomplishments within that role, and angle them to be relevant to the job you’re applying for.
    This is your opportunity to really demonstrate what you have achieved in each job role. For example, if you worked behind a bar provide an example how you provided great customer service, the impact you had on the bar’s income, repeat customers etc. Were you given any additional responsibilities?
  6. References
    References are really important, but we wouldn’t recommend listing them on your CV at this early stage. By stating that they are available upon request shows you are willing to give them.
  7. Make the most out of your interests
    If you have room, a ‘Hobbies and Interests’ summary is a nice addition that gets your personality across. You could highlight things which reflect what an employee is looking for e.g. team work.
  8. Keep it short
    A CV should ideally be no more than two pages long. This will make sure everything is clear, concise and doesn’t have any unnecessary information.
    Running into three pages works if you have significant and relevant content that you want your potential employer to know.
  9. Covering letter
    A professional and concise Cover Letter can make all the difference. This should not be a repeat of what is already on your CV, but more of a summary of what the employer is looking for.
    Your Cover Letter will be the first thing the employer reads. You can make it easy for them by underlining each competency and experience they are looking for from their job posting. You could also demonstrate how you have this experience in bullet points.
    By providing evidence and not just repeating what is said in the job posting, you can show that you understand what they are after and demonstrate your attention to detail.
  10. Make sure someone reads it
    Unfortunately, if you ask five different peoples’ opinion on your CV, you will often get five different viewpoints! Having someone proof-read your CV will help to avoid embarrassment in the interview, its good if they ask challenging questions about it as you’ll feel more prepared to answer questions later. Ensure your CV is in a style which best represents you and that you feel comfortable with it; you will feel more at ease answering questions or elaborating on certain points if it is.
  • I found Debbie very thorough, personable and easy to converse with; she was professional and efficient. In following her advice and feedback on my CV and cover letter, I managed to progress easily to the interview stage. She also helped me prepare for an upcoming interview, providing feedback on my answers as well as my body language. In utilising her advice, I was offered the job shortly after my interview. I found Debbie very pleasant and greatly benefited from her services. I would recommend Debbie to any job seekers not making much progress or those seeking a career change and in need of extra support and guidance with their applications.
    Melina Jenabi, MA International Trade and Commercial Law

For tailored CV Support, please contact debbie@accentuate.uk.com or call +44 (0) 7702 864 227

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