Friday, June 5, 2009

What makes a good CV?

There is no single "correct" way to write and present a CV but the following general rules apply:

  • It is targeted on the specific job or career area for which you are applying and brings out the relevant skills you have to offer
  • It is carefully and clearly laid out: logically ordered, easy to read and not cramped
  • It is informative but concise
  • It is accurate in content, spelling and grammar

 Two Personnel Managers answered this as follows.

A CV should be quick and easy to read

  1. It should be clearly and logically laid out so it is uncluttered and pleasing to the eye.
  2. Keep it simple for easy reading. Two pages are ideal and definitely not more than three.
  3. Clear and easy to read, well set out text, saves time for the reader.
  4. Employment details well set out and concise.

The information must be honest and relevant

  1. Unpretentious, succinct, honest and realistic.
  2. If applying for a specific job, the CV should respond to the qualities and experience asked for in the advertisement, but still be honest.
  3. Avoid detail about early experience. The last five years is more important.
  4. Include reason for leaving, if relevant.

The CV should tell the reader about the applicant

  1. What you have done and what you have achieved should be set out clearly.
  2. Give some clues as to the personality of the applicant
  3. Describe yourself in your terms. This is a good selling point.


It is hard to write a CV. It is technically difficult to condense many years of work into few paragraphs. Most people get much more criticism than praise in their lives. This can carry over into self-criticism and make it hard to be positive. We then undersell ourselves when writing a CV.

You can help each other produce your CV's. If you talk about it while someone else is listening your thoughts will become clearer.

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