Recruitment News

Top tips to create a winning CV

Our compilation of the most effective tips for landing your next job...


Whether you are updating your CV or writing one from scratch, it can be a daunting process. There are an abundance of articles available online, offering advice and templates to creating a credible CV.  Reading through these can be both time consuming and confusing so we have done the hard work for you and compiled the top 7 tips to creating a winning CV.


1       The basics

It’s important you have a succinct and snappy CV, so rather than writing the next novel, keep it to a maximum of 2-3 pages, using bullet points where you can and covering the most relevant and current parts of your career history. Also be mindful to adapt your CV to reflect the job applied for, so have your specification to hand when updating your document.


2       Personal details

Start with your personal details. These should include your name, address, telephone number and email. It may seem like simple advice but if you don’t include this essential information, you may miss out on opportunities as employers won’t be able to easily get in contact with you.


Remember you are not required to provide your date of birth, marital status, ethnicity or gender which can make it easier for employers to disregard your application or subject you to potential discrimination.


3       Education and qualifications

Start with your most recent qualifications and work backwards, including any vocational training you may have undertaken whilst working. Include university qualifications, A levels, GSCE’s or equivalent. Aside from any university qualification, it is not really necessary to state specific subjects undertaken, or exam re-sits, just the final grades you received will do.


4        Work Experience

Again, begin with your current, or most recent employment. Use the correct tense so if it is your current job then state ‘I am responsible for’ and if referring to a previous role then change the tense to ‘I was responsible for’.


Try to relate your skills to the job you are applying for. Take the time to read through the job description of each role you apply for, clearly highlighting the skills they have stated they are looking for. Not only will that demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are a suitable candidate for interview, but the extra effort will help you stand above the other generic CV’s they have to filter through.


Never leave unexplained gaps in your employment history, this will naturally cause suspicion and may well go against you before you have the opportunity to explain. If you have been out of work, try to put a positive spin on it, did you take a course, volunteer or develop your softer skills to further your future career? If so, shout about it!


Use pro-active descriptions such as ‘Achieved, Planned & Managed’ but make sure you use them correctly, formulating strong statements that fully demonstrate your skills and experience.


5        Interests and achievements

Keep this section short and to the point. Your employment history is the most important bit of information any prospective employer needs to know. Bullet points can be an efficient way to help to keep this section concise and easily separates your interests into different types.


If you have interests that relate to the job, state these first i.e. current affairs if you are applying for a position as a journalist. Also, anything that demonstrates a desirable skill set which would apply to the role you are applying for should be included i.e. if you have been a captain of a sports team, this demonstrates leadership.

Unusual hobbies can help you to stand out from the crowd but be careful to maintain the line of professionalism at all times.


6        Skills

The skills section gives you the opportunity to demonstrate any additional skills you have, aside from those stated in your work experience. Good examples of what to include are being able to speak multiple languages, having advanced computing skills and holding a full driving licence.


7         References

Most employers won’t check references at this stage, or without your permission, so it is more common to state ‘references are available on request’ than include them on your CV. Some application forms will request this information to be completed prior to interview though, so make sure that you have the details for two eligible referees who you are confident will support you in your application.


As a rule, one should be your present, or most recent employer and the other should be an academic such as a tutor or supervisor. Referees should never be a family member or friend as these will be deemed as bias and therefore unsuitable to stand as a reference, which could delay or hinder the recruitment process into your new role.


A few final tips and away you go …

Now that your CV is up to date and complete, it is important to ensure that your presentation is up to scratch.

Here are some final points to check before sending your CV to any prospective employer.


  • SPELLING– Always check spelling and grammar.
  • BULLET POINTS – Rather than writing reams of text and heavy paragraphs, try and bullet point as   much as you can, drawing out key skills and references.
  • FONT– Choose an easily readable font, no italics or colour text.
  • PRINT LAYOUT– Set your margins and align your paragraphs neatly so that when your CV is printed it is visually appealing with accurate, clear and concise formatting.
  • 2-3 PAGES, MAXIMUM– Keep it concise. CVs should never be more than 3 pages, but ideally only 2.
  • LANGUAGE- Be positive and present yourself confidently, highlighting your strengths.        
  • HONESTY – Although a CV does allow you to omit details that you would rather a prospective employer not know about, you should never provide misleading or inaccurate information.       
  • FIRST IMPRESSIONS – According to research, the area employers tend to pay most attention to when first looking over a CV is the upper middle section of the first page. Therefore, try to ensure that the critical information is listed, clearly within this ‘hot zone’.


Still need some help?

If you still require a bit of help, our accredited CV writing specialists at Solutions Recruitment, Newcastle are on hand to advise so please pop in or call us to arrange an appointment on 0191 221 0402.

Posted on 14th Sep 15

Current Vacancies