CV Do’s and Don’ts

CV Do’s and Don’ts

31 January 2019 by Justin Rush

CV Do’s and Don’ts

When applying for a job the company will always request your CV.

This is to see how well suited you are to the role they are advertising for. You could be the most qualified person applying for the role but still, fail to get the position because your CV lacks the detail that the hiring manager is looking for. Or alternatively, you could be less skilled than other applications but could get the interview as your CV is better written/ laid out than the other candidates. This is why having a well written and tailored CV is so important.

If you can produce a well written and tailored CV your chances of achieving an interview or even the position you are applying for are significantly increased.

Below we have created a list of the Do’s and Don’ts of CV writing tips to help you make your job application stand out from the crowd!


  1. Keep it short and sweet:

The rule of thumb is to keep your CV to 2 pages. There are a few exceptions to this suggestion. If you are a Senior Manager with a wealth of experience behind you then you can flex your CV up to more than two pages. However, ideally, stick to two pages as it will help eliminate any waffle! Remember, a hiring manager could be reviewing hundreds of CVs and you want to keep yours short and to the point.

  1. Tailor your CV to the Job:

When applying for a job there could be one hundred other candidates’ applying for the same role. This is why it is important to tailor your CV. Hiring Managers will skim through applications and will be able to see which are tailored and which are generic. You increase your chances of achieving an interview when you have tailored your CV to the job you are applying for. Focus on the skills and experience that are required for the job as this allows you to expand on these points to show that you would be a good fit the team.

  1. Choose the Right CV style:

Each candidate has different experiences and backgrounds so the traditional approach of chronologically writing a CV is not for everyone. There are three types of CV which are most commonly used:

  • Chronological: This is the most common and widely used CV style. It outlines your work experience and education in chronological order.
  • Functional: More commonly known as the ‘Skills-based’ CV. This style highlights your skills and achievements rather than your experience and education. This is a good style to use if there are gaps in your work history or you are planning on a career change.
  • Combination: Is as the name suggests. This style of CV will use a combination of the chronological and functional styles. It combines both your work history and skills.
  1. Follow the Correct CV Format:

  • Personal Details: Always include your name, contact details (email, phone, work phone etc) and address
  • Personal Statement: A small blurb about yourself that will help you stand out from other candidates.
  • Education: Include details of your GCSEs, A-Levels, Degree and Masters as the company you are applying for many ask for proof of these. Also include any relevant professional training, eg, ACCA/Cima/ACA if you are in the Accountancy Sector.
  • Work History: List your employment history. If you are following the chronological style list them in chronological order. Make sure that you include; the dates you worked there, your job title, any duties and responsibilities that you had.
  • Skills: List any relevant skills, eg if you work in IT list the different packages and languages you know such as Python, JavaScript and HTML.
  • Achievements: Such as any personal or professional achievements.
  1. Choose the Right Font:

The most common font styles that are used would be Calibri or Times New Roman (Helvetica if you have an Apple product). Ideally, you would use the default font size of 11 so that your CV is easy to read.

  1. Keep it Neat and Tidy:

Make sure that you have proofread and spell checked your CV. It would also be beneficial to have a friend or family member read over it to ensure there are no mistakes. Make sure that your CV is well spaced out and not all bunched up to make it easier to read.

  1. Support Claims with Facts & Figures:

Make sure that any claims you make are backed up with proof. Eg “increased sales” will not help you impress the hiring manager. Instead, give more details such as “increased sales by 15% in the first quarter”.

  1. Professional Qualifications:

Add details of any professional qualifications that you have achieved. Especially those that are relevant to the job that you are applying for. It could make the difference between getting an interview or not getting one.


  1. Lie:

Do not lie on your CV. Hiring Managers are using background checks much more frequently especially if they deem you to be a suitable candidate for the job. Even a small lie on your CV could cost you the job or even getting an interview. However, even if you did get the job that lie could come back to haunt you during your time in that role.

  1. Irrelevant Personal Information:

This information could include your nationality, age, sexuality, ethnicity, spouse and how many children you have. Hiring Managers do not want to know this information, but it could create a bias on your job application.

  1. Have Unnecessary References:

This will waste valuable space on your CV. Unless the job application states otherwise don’t put them on your CV. If you are successful in achieving the job the company will ask you to provide them.

  1. Handwrite your CV:

This almost goes without saying. It is easier to read a typed CV than it is to read a handwritten one as some people may struggle to read your handwriting.

  1. Waffle:

This is another waste of space. Use your space more wisely by focusing on what the job role commands. Expand your skills or job roles that relate to what you are applying for.

  1. Negative Information:

Hiring Managers do not what to read about failed exams, failed businesses, driving points or divorces. This would give them more reason to reject your application.

  1. Mention Money:

It is never a good idea to mention money on a CV. This is a question that can be asked at the interview stage.

  1. Never include a Photograph:

This point links in well with point 2. By adding a photograph to your CV you run the risk of the Hiring Manager being unintentionally biased towards you. Ideally, you want to be as anonymous as possible.

For more hints and tips on the do’s and don’ts of CV writing contact the Abacus Careers Team on 028 9031 3157 | [email protected]

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