What Makes a CV Good?

A quick look at the does and don’t’s of good CV writing

What makes a good CV depends very much on you, the job you are applying for, and the people who will read it.

This checklist contains a few ideas to help.

The Do’s

  • Do make sure it is up to date
  • Do keep it short, maximum two or three pages
  • Do make sure every word serves a purpose.
  • Do include all the skills, knowledge and experience that are relevant to the vacancy
  • Do list your work history in chronological order with the most recent position first
  • Do put the emphasis on what you have achieved and the impact you have had on your employers business
  • Do leave your academic qualifications to the end, unless you are straight out of education.
  • Do explain any gaps in employment
  • Do provide information about what you do away from work, but be brief
  • Do proof read it and get a friend to read it
  • Do spell check it
  • Do include a summary of your experience and a one paragraph pen portrait of yourself at the start

The Don’t’s

  • Don’t include opinions stick to evidence of your skills knowledge and experience
  • Don’t try to hide anything, people will assume the worst.
  • Don’t include details of your referees
  • Don’t include a photograph unless you are asked to, it won’t add to your application

The Paper CV

  • Do print it on quality white A4 paper in a standard font such as Times New Roman size 12 or 14.
  • Do use an envelope big enough so that you don’t have to fold it.

The Electronic CV

  • Do email it to yourself, check how it appears
  • Do create a PDF version so that you can be sure how it will print out
  • Don’t get carried away with colour and fonts, the recruiter may only have a black and white printer.