These days, the rules around writing a CV are not as hard and fast as they once were. Indeed, there are now many and varied ways to present your professional background and a large variety of places to showcase it. The CA team has put together some advice on CV-writing to help you make sure yours is the best it can be.
One page? Two pages? How about three?
One of the most common pieces of advice about writing a CV is that it should be no more than two pages long. Some recruitment experts even recommend one-page CVs. However, for some candidates, this isn’t actually the best advice, especially when dealing with recruiters. Think about it. How can someone with 20+ years of work under their belt fill the same space as an entry-level, recently-qualified grad? It simply doesn’t make sense. Therefore, if you are struggling to put all of your highly relevant information onto two pages, simply go to three. What we would advise is that you prioritise the most important information in those first two pages and treat subsequent pages as supplementary. The idea is to provide a reason to read on in the first page of your CV. However, if the job application specifies a CV length then do stick to that and if you’re going to go for 3 pages, make sure you keep it concise – an extra page is no reason to go off on a tangent.
A short and sweet personal summary
The personal summary section needs to be succinct and quick to read. This is not the most important part of your CV but it does need to be there. It should provide a clear idea of who you are, and give reason to move on to the ‘meat and bones’ of your CV.
Personal doesn’t mean ‘that’ personal
Personal information refers to the basics – no religious or political views or any other information that could sway bias in the reader. Keep it on point – ID number, DOB, nationality, and so on.
No photo required
We’re mentioning this one because we still see CVs come in with a photo. It is not necessary.
Achievements not responsibilities
Unless you have held very unusual positions, HR staff and recruiters don’t really need you to tell them what responsibilities a role involves. Rather, you need to focus on the accomplishments within those roles and how you achieved them. Without naming your achievements, you’re simply giving a rundown of what was required of you, not whether you rose to the challenge with flying colours.