5 tips on writing a successful CV

Your CV is the most valuable item you have in your job-seeking toolkit. It’s the first opportunity you get to impress a potential employer, and first impressions are always crucial.  According to research done by TheLadders, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision on candidates. So if you’re a job-seeker, it’s incredibly important to make those few seconds count. By following our top tips, you can ensure you make the best first impression possible.


1. Keep your CV concise

With such critical time constraints, there is no point in getting lost in detail. A good CV is clear, concise and makes its point without babbling.  The rule of thumb is that a CV should be no more than 2 pages long. A 2-page format gives you a concise framework from which to work with and decide what information to include and what to leave out.


2. Make your CV easy to read

With just seconds to work with, you should make it easier for recruiters to find pertinent information by creating a resume with a clear visual hierarchy. Make sure your section headings stand out so that the CV is easy to navigate. Bullet pointed lists and short sentences make your CV easier to read and easier for recruiters to scan for key points. Remember: by making your CV easy to read, you are demonstrating a valuable skill – the ability to present information in a coherent, appealing manner.


3. Tailor the CV to the role

Create a unique CV for every job you apply for.  Make sure you study the job description carefully – establish what the job entails and tailor your CV to sell your most relevant skills. Consider what skills the employer might be looking for, and highlight your most relevant experience. You don’t have to re-write your CV entirely, just adapt the details so they’re relevant.


4. Don’t get creative

If you only have 6 seconds, you don’t want the person reading your CV getting distracted. Don’t include distracting visuals, photos or video gimmicks. Research shows that such visual elements reduce recruiters’ analytical capability, hamper their decision-making and keep them from locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience. A ‘daring’ visual approach is only really suitable for creative jobs.


5. Check and check again

Seems like very obvious advice, yet one of the main reasons why a lot of CVs get rejected is that they contain errors and spelling mistakes.  Avoid them at all costs. This means typos, dates which conflict with one another and incorrect email addresses and phone numbers. A tidy, mistake-free CV shows you’re professional, thorough and care about how you come across. That means you must make sure your CV is absolutely typo-free and without grammar errors. It’s a good idea to have your CV checked by someone whose English is good, even if yours is good too. And do not rely on spellcheckers. They accept obvious errors like ‘there responsibilities include’ instead of ‘their responsibilities’.


So, there you go.  Follow these tips and you are on your way to CV gold. Happy job hunting! 🙂