CV Advice

The purpose of a CV is to provide an up to date summary of your work experience.

It should enable a prospective employer or recruitment consultant to see quickly whether you have the skills or characteristics that he/she is looking for so that he/she can invite you to attend an interview.

Everybody has different ideas about what constitutes the perfect CV format but here are the main pointers that most recruiters agree with.

  1. Keep it short. The main body of the CV should be no more than three pages. More than this will probably not be read. But make sure it contains sufficient detail for the reader to understand clearly what it is you have been doing. Bullet points work well instead of long paragraphs.
  2. Start with your personal details including contact details (email address, telephone number and town you live in).
  3. You may like to summarise the sort of work animal you are at the top of the CV as in "An experienced Event Manager with a background of organising pharmaceutical congress and events..." but do not make this more than 3 lines and avoid telling everyone how wonderful you are: it is the recruiter's job to assess your ability, not yours. We also advise that you write this as if you are writing it yourself and not in the third person.
  4. Detail your work experience in "reverse chronological order". This means putting your most recent experience first. We are interested mainly in what you can do for an employer now, not what you were doing 10 years ago. You should reduce the amount of detail you provide about previous jobs as you work back through your employment history time.
  5. For each position provide (in bold) a job title, the name of the employer, and the dates you were (are) employed there. Following this you should write a one or two line description of what your employer does - a brief company description. You should then provide details of the daily tasks you perform(ed), and any major successes or achievements which you want to draw to the reader's attention. This is often best done using a succession of bullet points, as mentioned above.
  6. Details about your education should be limited to the most advanced qualifications obtained. e.g. your degree or number of A levels/ GCSEs etc. You will not need to list the schools you attended or each individual GCSE with its grade.
  7. Details about your hobbies and interests should appear at the end of the CV. These are generally used as discussion points in an interview.
  8. Avoid making your CV too complicated in layout and design. Do not put everything in capitals as it’s difficult to read. Always use mixed case headings and text.
  9. Ensure your CV is perfect; there is no excuse for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, inconsistent fonts, colours etc. This is your first opportunity to present yourself and we have seen employers discount CV’s with even very minor errors.
  10. It is personal preference to put a picture of yourself on your CV but this is not standard practice throughout the UK.
  11. When sending a CV, include a covering note which explains the geographical areas you are prepared to work in, the distance you can commute, details of your present salary and the sort of work you are looking for. If you are looking for a particular type of work then you should also explain what this is. You should also include a day-time 'phone number where you can be contacted if possible. Recruitment consultants are trained to contact candidates with a maximum of discretion.
  12. It is an excellent idea to produce an events addendum or listing. This is a separate document to your CV but one that should be read in tandem with your CV. Please ask us for the addendum template which has been created in a format that clients find helpful. This is a document of hard facts that is designed to demonstrate the breadth of your experience.
  13. According to a study, an employer spends an average of just six seconds reviewing a CV! Make yours stand out!