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How to Produce a Knockout CV

CV Resources
Posted on: 19/11/2015
Writing a  great CV

You've scoured the papers, trawled the internet and finally found what you consider to be your dream job; now comes the difficult bit - preparing your CV. It is something that should be relatively simple to do; after all, it is you talking about yourself - how difficult can that be? However, knowing what to include and what to leave out can be something of a minefield.


If you are pulling your hair out trying to write yours, here's our guide to producing a knockout CV:


1. Keep It Short and Sweet


Aim to keep your CV under two pages long, as long as you're not missing out any important details - certainly no more than three pages. The average employer will spend just a few seconds looking at any one CV and there are some key pieces of information that they are looking for - your past employment history and education being just two. However, whilst you may consider it to be your finest hour, the 20 metre front crawl swimming certificate you received in primary school has no place on a professional CV. 


2. Speak To Your Target Audience


It is all too easy to print off 20 copies of your CV and fire them out to employers. However, as time consuming as it may be, you are likely to have far more luck by customising your CV to suit the role you are applying for. Read each advert and make a note of the language they are using and the skills they are looking for. By using these terms and structuring your CV to answer the points listed in the advert, you are more likely to stand out from the crowd.


3. Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth


We've all done it - told a little white lie (or sometimes a big stonking naughty one) on our CVs to make ourselves look good. You might think that there is no harm in it, but there is a good chance that you will get found out. In many instances the truth will surface once the employer contacts your references or, worse still, you trip over your own lies during the interview. It is just not worth the awkwardness and embarrassment, so just be honest!


4. Fill in the Gaps


At some point or another in our careers we have all found ourselves out of work and for that reason you may have a few gaps in your work or education in your CV. As an employer there is nothing more suspicious than seeing gaps in an applicant's history, so be sure to fill them in with something positive. Maybe you went to care for gorillas in Africa, went travelling in South America or simply took time out to study for a course at home - whatever it is, it is better to put it down than leave a gap. 


5. Check It, Check It Some More and Then Check It Again


When an employer is faced with having to whittle dozens of applicants down to a shortlist, the last thing you want to do is give them a reason to dismiss you. There is nothing an employer hates more than a CV which is riddled with mistakes, so always check your grammar and spelling. Once you've checked it, run it through a spellchecker and then get someone else to look it over.  


Need some more tips and advice? Check out our Candidate Resources page for more useful guides.