Resume Writing Tips
How to Write an Effective CV
Create a CV that gets results
You do not get a second chance to make a first impression. As your official introduction, your CV format should look its professional best.
Before you commence writing your Curriculum Vitae, research a few sample
CV formats to find the one that will best allow you to showcase your professional experience & skills.
Once you’ve addressed your CV’s basic structure, it’s your attention to detail that will set you apart from other similarly qualified candidates. Here’s our handy guide to the finer points of resume writing, along with some common pitfalls to watch out for.
14 Top CV tips and advice for success
- CVs are generally two pages in length and CV Summaries are one page.
- Use an easy to read CV format and ensure the margins are not too wide or too narrow. Peruse sample CVs for design ideas.
- Keep your resume, and each section within it, as succinct as possible to allow you to headline key achievements. Include the necessary information but do it clearly and concisely using only relevant details. Excessive detail and long blocks of text will not do you any favours.
- Information that shows you are a great fit for the job should be placed toward the top.
- Include detailed contact information on the first page.
- Avoid long lists of ‘responsibilities included’ statements. Instead, focus on your actual achievements, and begin each with a dynamic action word or phrase like ‘designed’, ‘coached’, ‘assessed’, ‘undertook’, ‘supervised’, ‘organised’, ‘managed’, ‘transformed’, etc
- Address any obvious gaps in your work history by writing a brief explanation where appropriate (perhaps you were travelling overseas, had a child or went back to university).
- Many recruitment agencies (and indeed, some larger companies) use special software to scan applications for certain words and phrases, which are called ‘keywords’. To maximise your resume’s chances of being found, it’s a good idea to make sure your resume contains key words from the job description, or from your role and industry, to ensure it passes the first round of checks. Common keyword examples include ‘project management’, ‘business development’, ‘customer service’, ‘account manager’, ‘software development’ and ‘leadership’, amongst many others.
- Privacy can be a real issue in today’s high-tech world. Be aware of employer/client confidentiality and never reveal information in your resume that can jeopardise a client’s privacy or put them at risk.
- Use bold type appropriately. Use underlining sparingly, if at all.
- Arial and Times New Roman are standard typefaces on most business computers. Avoid unusual typefaces.
- Use a font size of 11 points or above.
- If you are printing your curriculum vitae, use black ink on high quality white paper. Do this for cover letters well.
Next, read our
step-by-step guide on how to write a CV.