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8 Tips to Create a CV Shakespeare Would Be Proud Of

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We all dream of creating that perfect CV. You know the one – the one that makes potential employers gasp, say ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ and immediately know their business simply can’t do without you!

Sadly though, for many people this is not the case and employers will probably just add it to the ‘meh’ pile possibly coming back to it later on, but more than likely never giving it another thought…

So what can you do?

We’ve come up with our 8 top tips to help you build a CV that really stands out to employers, making it less likely that you’ll just be added to another pile

1. Keep it concise

No self-respecting employer will sit and try to force their way through 5 pages of writing, no matter how good it may be!

Make sure your CV is no longer than 2 pages of A4 – 22% of employers will reject a CV if it is longer than this!

Ensure it is clear, to the point and focussed!

2. Be specific!

Every CV you send should be unique to that job role.

Always make sure to include info given in the job description – but don’t just copy and paste it!

If there are any skill gaps in your experience then include transferable skills to cover these – going for a kitchen job but haven’t worked in a kitchen before? Talk about the skills you’ve gained whilst cooking at home!

3. Make it easy to read

Employers tend to just skim through CVs picking out the important information, so most will immediately reject one if it has too much text – they don’t want to be sat reading for ages, they have other things to do!

Make use of bullet points and lists as this makes it much easier for them to find the info they’re looking for Bullet Points

Remember to also use a practical font that is easy to read (PLEASE no comic sans!) and lay it out in a logical and coherent order and format

Another important point to note – if you’re going to include numbers in your CV, always express them as digits rather than words and make sure to use them in the right context (50% is far easier to relate to than £30,000)

4. Relevance

Keep your work experience interesting and relevant – an employer doesn’t want to read about all your duties and what you did every day!

The best way to write about a job you’ve had is to say what you achieved whilst you were there. If you increased company profits or improved their reputation, say so – brag about your accomplishments! 

5. Be interesting!

When it comes to your hobbies and interests don’t just use boring clichés!

Pick some of your more unusual or distinctive ones and link them to the skills detailed in the job description. Use your interests to show off your abilities!Zzzzz

It is also worth showing a diverse range of hobbies, showing that you are an interesting and knowledgeable person!

6. Emphasise the good points!

We’ve all had jobs that weren’t particularly thrilling or the most exciting, but even these jobs have helped develop the skills we now have. When writing about your work experience, focus on the skills you have gained and highlight the positive features you’ve picked up.

7. Be sensible

Okay, this one may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people have email addresses such as mrincredible@… or fairygirl@… (myself included!) so it’s always a good idea to create a new, more professional one, specifically for job applications!

Being practical also covers what your CV looks like – it may seem like a great idea at the time to use that new, shiny, purple paper you’ve just got (and glitter), but guess what? 20% of employers will instantly cast aside a CV that’s on any paper other than plain, simple, white.

(On this note however, there are several companies where a more attention-grabbing CV would be acceptable – check out these 30 brilliant and inventive CVS! )

8. Check, double check and triple check!

Tick colouredThe last thing you want to do after perfecting your CV is to send it to an employer with spelling and grammar mistakes!

This is one of the top 5 reasons a CV will be binned, so make sure you thoroughly check through it (this goes for cover letters and application forms too!)

Nearly there!

We just a few other tips that are worth remembering when applying for a job:

  • Don’t put your date of birth – although rare, it’s possible to be passed over for certain jobs because of your age. If you don’t put it on, they won’t know until they interview you!
  • Don’t include a photo – a photograph can give away information such as your gender, age and looks, which again may work against you when applying for certain roles
  • Keep it updated – it is important to keep your CVs updated and add any new information as it happens – this way you won’t forget any dates or achievements!

So, you’re now armed with the knowledge needed to create a CV that you’re proud of and that really shows you off to employers. No longer will you be instantly discarded onto another pile, but will have a better chance of getting an interview and a job!


If you’re currently looking for a new job or career change but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the National Careers Service skills tests – find out what your perfect job role is!

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