What makes a good CV?

Simple, effective CVs are:

  • Easy to read.

To get a foot in the interview door, time-pressed employers faced with a mountain of job applications want to be able to see quickly and easily what you’ve done and what you can do for them. Use a clear, logical structure to present your skills and experience, and keep the layout uncluttered (i.e. don’t try to pack too much in) so that it’s easy on the eye.

  • Only as long as absolutely necessary.

You’ve got a lot to say and recruiting managers are busy people (did we mention that already?). So you need to focus on the essentials. Employers are usually most interested in your last two jobs (or two most recent relevant jobs), so include a quick line or two at most on earlier employment (the same goes for hobbies, education history, qualifications, etc.) unless it is especially pertinent to the job you’re applying for.

  • Job-specific.

Every point you make about projects or campaigns you worked on in previous jobs should only ever reflect how you exercised the skills, experience or responsibilities required to do the role for which you are now applying. Matching these directly (and verbatim) to the core competencies listed demonstrates that you are laser-focused on exactly what they are looking for.

  • Backed up by evidence.

Show, don’t tell. Anyone can describe him or herself as “an enthusiastic team-player with a proven track record of results,” but you will get much further by providing concrete, measurable examples (best of all, solid figures) of how you helped your former employers meet the same challenges currently facing your would-be recruiter.

  • Error-free.

Last, but definitely not least, nothing says lack of professional pride like unnecessary spelling mistakes and bad grammar. And if you are pasting the contents of the same CV into multiple applications, other telling errors can creep in. We weren’t all brilliant at English in school, but we all have friends and acquaintances who can check our work.