The do's and don'ts of writing a CV

Do’s and don’ts of CV writing

For information only
 
A lot of people ask us if their CV is doing them justice. The answer is usually yes. Even if we think not, that doesn’t mean we are right.

The fact is there is no right way or wrong way of writing a CV. One man’s meat really is another man’s poison and ten different people will give ten different opinions. Is it right to include hobbies and interests? What about school exam results? Do you include your age?

It’s up to you.

Having said that we do have a view on this;-

Does it need to be all on one page?

In a word, no. There is a risk of loosing someone’s attention if it goes on for page after page, but equally, summarising to the point of not giving any information is as bad.

Should it include your address?

Since CV’s routinely got posted online many people have decided (understandably) that they don’t want their address there for all to see. However, it’s the quickest way to get yourself on the reject pile.

You don’t need to put all the details there, but “Lives – London NW3” or “Lives – Manchester” or whatever it is, is enough. If the employer (or agency) doesn’t know were you live, they are unlikely to take it any further, for risk of you living the other end of the country. Putting address details in a covering email doesn’t cut it either. Even if the CV is stored entirely electronically and never printed, the extra work in rooting out or cross linking a covering email is still going to make it unlikely you ever get the call.

Absolute must – CV must include at least the area you live in.

Contact details?

For many of the same reasons, these also have started to disappear from CV’s. For the same reason it likely to get you quickly rejected. One because the recipient couldn’t (easily) find a way to contact you and secondly, because it raises the question ‘who sends a CV without contact details on them?’

If you can’t live with personal contact details online..don’t post the CV online.

Graphics/Pictures.

Is this a good idea? A few are OK. 25MB monsters have a habit of crashing email servers which will make you VERY unpopular. Some people say graphics make the CV look ‘studenty’. People still tend to print CV’s before an interview or for circulation/discussion. One that uses a gallon of printer ink is again going to get rejected…So no black backgrounds.

Having said that, some people do like to see examples of work.

Given that web space is now virtually free, we would recommend a website with all the examples you want and keep the CV simple with just a hyperlink to the website.

Personal statements

These are much loved by the HR/CV writing world.

Not an awful idea, but ask yourself when writing about how great you are..Is that really for me to say?

“A intelligent, confident and well motivated individual”.

It’s very easy to provoke a reaction like “well he would say that wouldn’t he?” or “I’ll be the judge of that thanks”.

The scope for scorn and/or negative reaction is as high if not higher than the positives. We are not saying don’t do it, we are saying be very circumspect about talking yourself up.

Other things

Things like age, education, hobbies really are up to the individual.

But keep this in perspective. Do you want to get an interview, because you follow the same football team as the bloke who is hiring?

Don’t over do the personal stuff in favour of work experience. It is amazing how many people write about at length their trip to the jungles of South America for page after page, then summarise their jobs in one or two lines. It is a CV, not a facebook page!

Keep it neutral. Again it’s about work. So statements about political or any other strongly held views are best avoided.

For us the key ingredients in a CV are:-

Who you are?

Where you are?

How to get hold of you?

What your qualifications are?

When/where you did them?

The company(s) you work(ed) for?

What do they do?

When you were there?

What did you do while you were there?

Cover all that and don't lie, and don't leave gaps and you should not get too much critism. But to reiterate, It’s your CV so you are the best qualified to write it and there is no point of view on this subject, however strongly held, that is necessarily the right one.

This is an expression of our opinion. It is not legal advice and should not be read as such.