Dos and Don’ts of CV Writing

Are you planning to look for a job in the UK? Recruiters may have just a few seconds to scan your CV so it is vital that yours stands out from the rest. Here are some tips on how to produce a professional-sounding CV in English:

Do put your name, address and contact details (with a professional-sounding email address) at the top of your CV. You don’t need to write ‘CV’ as your name should act as a title.

Don’t reveal details such as your age, marital status or religion: potential employers are not allowed to ask you these questions in the UK since they are characteristics protected from discrimination under the Equality Act (2010). The other characteristics are: sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy & maternity and gender reassignment. Likewise, do not attach a photo of yourself.

Do include a brief personal statement to sum up who you are as a professional and why you’re suited to the role. This should be adapted depending on the position. You should be able to demonstrate your stated qualities with concrete examples in your cover letter and during the contingent interview.

Don’t use cliché statements such as:

  • I’m passionate about…
  • I’m a team player
  • I’m creative/dynamic/highly motivated/hard-working
  • I have excellent communication skills

Do list your employment history in chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position. Make sure you include your job title, the name of the company and start and finish dates. Briefly outline the responsibilities you held and/or results you achieved.

Don’t include information about previous salaries or the reasons you left those positions – these are questions that can be addressed in an interview.

Do list your qualifications, noting the type of qualification, subject, institution, start and finish dates and grade.

Don’t give details about individual courses or modules you studied unless it is relevant to the position in question.

Do mention any other achievements and interests you think will support your application e.g. leadership roles, foreign languages, being a member of a professional group.

Don’t talk about anything that is not relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Do decide who you want to be your referees and ask them if they are prepared to take on this role before you send out your CV.

Don’t put referee contact details on your CV: you can provide this information once requested by the employer.

Do keep your formatting and font as simple and clean as possible.

Don’t use more than 2 pages of A4 paper.

Finally, before you click the ‘send’ button, check, double-check and triple-check your document for typos and inconsistencies in content and formatting. This way, you can be sure to make an outstanding impression.

Good luck.

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