Tips for a CV recruiters want to read


Graduates often tell me they find it difficult to keep their CVs short (no more than 2 pages) and to the point. Hiring managers have limited time to review CVs – and applicants have got to make it easy for them to choose the ‘yes’ pile, and not the ‘bin’ pile.

So here are some tips to help your cv land in the ‘yes’ pile:

  • Consolidate your contact information. No need to include your address – if anything, just the city you live in.
    Also, instead of separating your phone number, email address, and social media accounts by line, use vertical bars to divide the information and include everything on one line
  • Don’t take style/ layout shortcuts You might be tempted to trim margins, shorten line spacing, or shrink the font, but those shortcuts stand out to recruiters.You need to maintain the readability of the document and not overwhelm the hiring manager with too much text.
  • What font is the best for CVs? Industry experts recommend using Cambria, with up to 14-point font for section headers and no smaller than 10-point for content.
  • Write concisely and use industry recognised abbreviations
    To tighten up the language on your CV —and save space—avoid using personal pronouns (I, me, or we). Also, use industry-standard or acronyms where appropriate, for example, in most industries it’s known that R&D stands for research and development.
  • Erase ‘references available upon request’, that’s a given.
  • Think carefully about the section on interests as it’s unlikely that this information is going to get you hired.  There are exceptions, such as an unusual hobby that makes you stand out, or one that directly relates to the job. If you’re applying for a position at The Lawn Tennis Association and  you’re a lifelong tennis player, then include it.
  • Mirror the skills the employer is looking for.  Mirroring the language used in the job posting will also help your CV get past applicant-tracking software used by employers to scan CVs for keywords.
  • Eliminate unnecessary section headers. The summary—the three- to four-sentence profile where you highlight what makes you uniquely qualified for the job—should appear at the top of your CV, but you don’t need to label it “summary.”
    Also, instead of creating separate sections for professional and volunteer experience, combine them under one “experience” section. If you’re entry-level, volunteer work can help boost your CV. If you’re more experienced, that volunteer work, like a hobby, could give you an edge over a similarly qualified candidate, if it’s highly relevant.
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