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Writing a Successful CV

Posted by Admin | 7 years ago | Filed Under Finding A Job

Writing a good CV can be one of the toughest challenges of job hunting. It is essential to have a well presented professional CV, but still many graduates get this wrong. Most employers spend just a few seconds scanning each CV before sticking it in the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Pile. That is harsh, isn’t it?  But don’t worry; we have helped compiled twelve steps (from total jobs and careers in helping you write a good CV.

What is Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

It is an outline of a person's educational and professional history, usually prepared for job applications. Another name for a CV is a résumé. A CV is the most flexible and convenient way to make applications. It conveys your personal details in the way that presents you in the best possible light. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing something:  and that person is yourself!  Therefore, you need to "sell" your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to employers.

One survey of employers found that the following aspects were most looked for

(From the brilliant 2010 Orange County Resume Survey by Eric Hilden)

45%     Previous related work experience

35%     Qualifications & skills

25%     Easy to read

16%     Accomplishments

14%     Spelling & grammar

9%       Education (these were not just graduate recruiters or this score would be much higher!)

9%       Intangibles: individuality/desire to succeed

3%       Clear objective

2%       Keywords added

1%       Contact information

1%       Personal experiences

1%       Computer skills


Now to the twelve steps to a successful CV 

Now the twelve steps to a successful CV 

  • A good CV should be not more than two pages – and that's two pages of A4 paper! Employers spend, an average, just 8 seconds looking at any one CV, and a sure way of landing yourself on the ‘No’ pile is to send them your entire life story. Keep it punchy, to the point, and save those little details for the interview.


  • Take the time to change your CV for each role that you apply for. Research the company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. They will appreciate the obvious effort.


  • Don’t just assume an employer will see how your experience relates to their job. Instead, use a short personal statement to explain why you are the best person for the job. This should be reflected in your cover letter.


  • Did you do a course, volunteer work or develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork or project management? If so, shout about it!  Include it in your CV.


  • You should keep your CV up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don't later forget something that could be important.


  • Employers DO look for mistakes on CVs and if they find them, it makes you look really bad. David Hipkin, head of recruitment and resourcing at Reed Business Information, warns, 'With most employers experiencing massive volumes of applicants right now, giving them the excuse to dismiss your application because of avoidable errors is not going to help you secure an interview.' If you're unsure then use a spellchecker and ask someone else to double-check what you've written. And don't ignore the most common CV mistakes


  • Lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can't answer questions on what you claim to know. And that can be VERY awkward!


  • This may sound dull but by backing up your achievements with numbers it makes selling yourself much easier. When writing your work history, don’t just say that you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six month period. Big numbers are especially good  but don’t forget the point 7 of the list. 


  • Get Creative with your job application: Use bullet points and keep sentences short. Use the graphic design trick of leaving plenty of white space around text and between categories to make the layout easy on the eye.


  • Make it keyword friendly. If you’ve uploaded your CV to a job site so recruiters can find you, keywords are very important. Job titles and job buzzwords will help a search engine pick out your CV.  A marketing candidate might mention SEO (Search Engine Optimization), direct marketing and digital marketing among their experience and skills, for example... If you're not sure, have a search online and see what words are commonly mentioned when you input your job title.



  • References: Many employers don’t check references at the application stage so unless the vacancy specifically requests referees it's fine to omit this section completely if you are running short of space or to say "References are available on request." But when requested, then two referees are sufficient.

8 Blog Comment(s)

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, 9 months ago


Ogbuagu Jennifer , 4 years ago

Thank you 

kamiyo adekunle, 4 years ago

Thank you.

Ayodele Hope, 5 years ago



Nwankwo, Chinomso, 5 years ago


Asemokhe Mark A, 5 years ago

Nice Article 

Okonweze A. Chinonso, 5 years ago

Thank you! 

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