The do's and don'ts of CV writing

Your CV is the first impression a potential recruiter or employer has of you and it can be the difference in progressing for a role or not. Therefore, it is important that your CV represents you in a way that is desirable.

There are a few common mistakes that people make on their CVs which can be detrimental to their job applications. Below I’ve listed some “do’s” and “don’ts” to ensure successful CV writing:

✓ Do – Keep it confidential. Name the agency who you are working through as your employer on your CV and go through specifics over the phone.
Don’t – Give out confidential information about your employer. Some contracts with major blue chip organisations advise their contractors not to use them on their CV for confidentiality reasons.

✓ Do – Keep it concise. Bullet pointing experience from most relevant to least relevant will ensure important points are picked up.
✕ Don't – Include large paragraphs of unnecessary information. Recruiters/employers will skim read your CV initially and will be looking for certain experience and qualifications. If the information is hidden in large paragraphs, it may be missed.

✓ Do – Create an email address which states your first and last name. An email address will often be used when contacting a candidate to discuss a role further and therefore a straightforward, professional email address name should be included.
✕ Don't – Use an unprofessional email address. A CV should be a professional representation of yourself and including an unprofessional email address can often be an instant decline in the eyes of employers.

✓ Do – Include the month for when you started and finished a role and explain any gaps in your CV. These questions will need to be covered in the phone interview and often your CV amended so save time by including these initially.
✕ Don't – Make it difficult for recruiters/employers to understand dates of employment.

✓ Do – Write your CV as if the person reading it has never done your job. Do not make your CV too technical and extend abbreviations. Often your CV will go through the HR department who have often not done the role before.
✕ Don't – Use jargon in your CV. Recruiters/employers may not understand certain abbreviations (they may be different in other companies) and they may miss that you have certain experience.

✓ Do – Include your correct title as per your contract and bullet point additional duties underneath in “responsibilities”. This will ensure that the additional experience is passed on to the person reading your CV, however when it comes to vetting there will not be any discrepancies.
✕ Don’t – Include incorrect job titles. If your contract states a specific title, you need to continue using this on your CV. Although you may have covered other duties in your role (e.g. management of staff while another team leader is away) this does not mean your title should change on your CV, unless stated in your contract. Most companies will need to follow strict vetting checks as per the client’s requirements and if your title on a reference does not reflect that on your CV it will often be considered a discrepancy.

✓ Do – Use a professional font and standard formatting, ensuring consistency throughout. Also ensure to spell check your CV. Having a professionally laid out and worded CV with no spelling errors will give the best impression.
✕ Don't – Use unusual fonts/formatting styles or include spelling errors.

The job application process can be daunting, especially if you haven’t applied for a new role in a while or if it is your first time. By creating a professional and easy to follow CV you will give yourself a good head start when it comes to finding your next role.

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