How to Write a CV

Should you have 2 CV

Is a 2 CV approach better than 1?

It’s an eternal question; is a 2 CV approach better than 1? You may have possibly heard that you should tailor your CV for a specific role that you are interested in? Which is the correct option? Neither.

Tailor a copy of the CV

The straight answer is have one CV as the best all round representation of you and for each role that you apply for tailor a copy of the CV for that particular role and job description. But [blockquote align=”left” cite=”Laszlo Bock, Google Chief Of HR”]People who tweak their CVs or résumé the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error, because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune your résumé.”[/blockquote] in doing so, it is probably pertinent to heed the recent words of wisdom from Google’s Chief of HR Laszlo Bock. “People who tweak their CVs or résumé the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune your résumé.”

How you get around the issue is key and being methodical is critical. Even then, you may succumb to word and grammar blindness, whereby no matter how many times you go through the document the mistakes are not all rectified or spotted. When a CV is received like this by a recruiter, the first instinct of the reader is to look for detail that includes the applicants attention to detail and attention to grammar. The more senior you are, the more likely it is for your CV to face a granular inspection. After all, if you intend to be the head of business, then you should be able to sort out the detail on a CV, shouldn’t you?

CV writing just isn’t fair

If only it were that simple! CV writing is a difficult and challenging process for nearly everyone, and just because you might be able to run a multi-million dollar industry does not necessarily mean that you can conjure up a CV that represents you in the best possible way. There are a number of options around this. Firstly, be mindful that if you choose to ignore the option of tailoring your CV it will put you at a disadvantage. Secondly, as a professional CV writer to assist you [button size=”large” align=”center” link=”tel:+442033228853″ linkTarget=”_blank” color=”green” textColor=”rgba(255,255,255,1)” width=”500″ icon=”mobile-phone” icon_color=”#ffffff”]Want to know more? Click here to call from your device[/button] Thirdly, if you want to go it alone Grammarly provide a great tool for proof reading which can help ensure that the CV is as close to perfect as possible.

What to write in a CV

Just seen your CV can I ask what you do?

The scene: CV sift day – when we crack open the machine that gathers applications and look inside, hoping to spot diamonds amongst…

I like to think of myself as human (post first coffee AM). As a human reading a CV (I make this point to avoid a comparison with an applicant tracking system), I want to know who you are, what you have done and where you ply your trade. After that you can give me some choice morsels of highlights etc. I take this for granted. Which is why I’m surprised this week by a number of MD Level CVs that have been sent to an executive position that we are recruiting for. The place of work had no detail except for the name of the organisation.

Why this is an CV issue :

The organisation element of career history is a pinch point in your CV, and if you give the reader a couple of lines about the business then they can quickly quantify your role: (imagine if you will, that the box below in red is snipped from such a typical CV)


[error_msg]Acme Thunder – Managing Director
A PLC employing 20,000, with a turnover circa £900M providing loud noises and occasional flash systems for cloud and storm fronts internationally from 24 countries.[/error_msg]

If I omit the bold italics (so that you can see the detail) from the description of Acme Thunder above, I deprive the recruiter of:

[list style=”list11″ color=”red”]

  • Type-PLC
  • Employee Number-20K
  • Turnover-£900M
  • Industry-Sky
  • Sectors-Storm fronts, Noise and Light
  • Reach-International
  • Number of Centres-24


The lack of detail is detrimental to your CV and opportunity. Why take the risk for a couple of sentences of content? Just read your CV, can I ask what you do..?
To find out more click here: Managing Director CV Writing Service

Recruiters look for holes in a CV

Reading Between The Lines Of A CV

Recruiters could, and are seeing increasing numbers of CVs from a different perspective, and it could be detrimental to the intended career move of the individual.

It transpires when reading a CV that the first review of the detail a recruiter makes is cursory, and a skim for relevant experience to the post applied for. The second review is for career movement, and if the CV passed the relevant experience test then this could be where the detail voids (aka holes) in a CV could let the individual down.

There are many factors that can cause people to move from one job to another which include progression and continuity as just two reasons, but if a CV only offers superficial detail of the roles held, and no explanation of departure then the reader has to arrive at a conclusion.

Usually negative.

Recruiters consider lack of detail on a CV as an attempt to conceal the truth about movement. It transpires, rightly or wrongly, that this lack of detail creates a mental label in the mind of the reader that the CV represents a job hopper, probably unable to hold a position for longer than 18 months before resigning or being sacked.

Conversely, career movements can work in favour of the person being scrutinised but require effort to ensure that they encapsulate and promote responsibilities, achievements and progression to explain clearly to the reader the reasons for change.

We are continually surprised by the number of people that fail to understand what should be an opportunity which can fundamentally change the way recruiters engage with the person concerned.

Do not let a recruiter read between the lines, ensure the effort is made to add the lines of detail to a CV and it could be the difference between you and the next guy.

CV ready for the end of the recession

Is your CV ready for the end of the recession?

Your CV is going to come under increasing pressure over the next year as the economy pulls slowly from recession into a growth phase. The CBI predict that up to 35% of private sector employers are expecting to expand their workforce over the coming 12 months. In contrast 15% expect the workforce to be smaller.

How this will impact your CV:

Increased confidence from employers will filter into the economy and this knock on effect will in turn stimulate more interest from candidates who may have been treading time in positions that they no longer want. In turn, they will enter the recruitment market and increasingly dilute the pool of talent that is looking for the new positions. If the numbers are correct and you take the split from the two as a straight 20% then the numbers applying for each role will increase but the question is not how but by how much?

It is difficult to predict but for arguments sake lets say a minimum of 10% and a maximum of I’m not sure! What I can predict is this; More choice for employers and recruiters is the first simple assumption to make but what any candidate that has been out of work or is in an interim position should be concerned about is the competition from the people that just wish to change jobs. In a majority of situations those that have employment can be favoured over those that are out of work or interim. The bias occurs because a blanket false assumption is made that those coming from employment have a fresher skill set.

How to react:
Regardless of your current employment status it is your CV and to some extent your Linkedin profile that must start doing the work for you. Target the positions that you wish to apply for and start tailoring your CV to win interviews and jobs. If you have a generic CV or lack key detail from the job description woven into your CV (and cover letter if required) then you should not be surprised when you are not contacted to go for an interview.

If you want to beat the competition you have to beat them on every conceivable level.

Leaving everything to indifference is a catastrophic career choice.

Get the interviewer to behave like a Toady

Will your CV get you that job?

No and do not convince yourself that a CV will be a “shoe in” to your next position.

It could actually ruin your chances and this is why:
If you are tempted to believe that you can just send your CV, that employers will be beating a path to your door before rolling out the red carpet whilst performing backward toady hops and showering you with platitudes then your CV must be a brilliant and targeted document. Why, you must have spent an age crafting it to fit the person specification for the role?

[error]I cannot emphasise enough the importance of using an advert for a role as the keyword/keyphrase target for your CV.[/error]

Of course there are exceptions and the more senior you are, the less likely it is to encounter obstacles. However, if you consider yourself to be an astute individual then you will be aware that every stage of a recruitment process is a sift and this becomes increasingly rigorous with every step forward.

A well crafted, detail rich CV can get you noticed and it can encourage or expedite the possibility of contact from a recruiter or employer. It will not get you the role that is your responsibility and that harsh reality of any contact regarding a CV needs to be considered as a nano interview process where scrutiny is used to establish how suitable, enthusiastic and qualified you are to take on the role.

If you are receiving regular calls or emails in regard to your CV or Linkedin profile then you can safely assume that your profile offers the detail

Taking responsibility for your initial contact and the Interview:

Your CV, once written properly can help you get an interview and that is all it can do. If your facts do not withstand scrutiny or you are unable to discuss your claims in detail then you will probably fail.

If you do not fill the room with your presence and command the attention of your interviewer(s) panel, you will fail.

If your CV is dynamic and you have the interview personality of a corpse then you have failed and NOT your CV.

Your CV got you in the room and if you do not succeed then you have yourself to blame.

As always, there is a caveat or two:

You may have failed because there was a better candidate (it happens to everyone) but there are only a few times you can use this excuse before you should have an introspective chat (if you have not done so already) with yourself. Look at yourself and think to how you behaved and engaged. Were you too passive or meek or maybe just dull?
If you want a role, you need to want a role and seasoned interviewer can spot this a mile off. So the next time you are called to interview, make sure that you execute your “A” game and fill the room with personality and enthusiasm.

After all, you might just surprise yourself into getting a new role.

How to avoid prejudice on your CV

CV Tip #5 Detail and Prejudice Avoidance Checklist

The Detail & Prejudice Avoidance Checklist

Guess what? People are bigoted. I know that’s a sweeping generalisation and that you might rank yourself amongst those pure souls that make a Buddhist look like a fascist, but no matter how much you try and convince yourself otherwise it is a fact. We can be assured that at this point in our history prejudice is being marginalised (as I’m writing this, John Terry the Chelsea footballer player has been found guilty by the FA of racial abuse) but will it ever be eradicated? Probably not if ever as it is a protective measurement that is a
Group Choice
“In evolutionary biology, group selection is a theory that alleles can become fixed or spread in a population because of the benefits they bestow on groups.”[/notice]
or sometimes
Genetic Choice
“…the gene-centred view follows that the more two individuals are genetically related, the more sense (at the level of the genes) it makes for them to behave selflessly with each other. Therefore the concept is especially good at explaining many forms of altruism, regardless of a common misuse of the term along the lines of a selfishness gene.”[/notice]
throwback to a time when we would tribe (in Western culture has it ended? No.). Most of us can discern right from wrong and ignore our impulse and treat everyone as equal. However, can we really control our subconscious especially when its thinking 20 seconds ahead of us? This is the dilemma you face; people, humans are fallible by intent and sometimes through no fault of their own as shown on Horizon by the BBC:

Therefore to try and stop prejudice and avoid the Group or Gene mentality, always ensure your cv follows the checklist below by eliminating clues that prejudice “flags” react to.
[list style=”list3″ color=”green”]

  • Address and correct post code: if you have just moved to a new home and do not know the post code then use the royal mail post code finder
  • Hobbies: Keep them short and relevant: The application process for any position is littered with hobbies/pastimes or obsessions of applicants trying to to be funny/interesting or quirky. The consequence of adding the aforementioned is usually to lose credibility or to subject your CV to scorn and at the extreme, prejudice.
  • Portrait picture: This is where you will find double standards abound. Linkedin profiles encourage you to provide a picture and people are increasingly adding a head shot or in some instances a picture that they think is amusing or “cool” (avoid the latter 2 if your position requires an authoritative and corporate individual). Yet the concept of the CV in the UK seemingly still baulks against this trend. But why? Probably through recruiters and employers actively being against the idea for historic reasons and to avoid gender/race/colour/age prejudice. So why is Linkedin able to ignore this historic dogma? Probably because it has been adopted en masse and has become an expected norm whilst those profiles without pictures are now treated with suspicion(Group selection and subconscious again, the irony!).
  • Other images: We have seen a trend, of late, whereby some candidates have decided to add a company logo alongside a company profile in a role description. At first glance this makes a visual impact and if the companies in question are of a substantial size or are renowned, this can have a positive effect. Although there not many ATS options that can accomodate the images and could in some instances cause the CV to fail a parsing sift. Our advice to those of you that would like to use a company logo to follow up with a call to agent and ensure the CV has been parsed correctly. Failure to call could cost you the opportunity of an interview.
  • Religion: You may or may not have a faith or a belief but based on the information that I have presented here look at it on your CV and ask what does it add to your career document? It adds the opportunity for a reader to make a descion based on Group.
  • Facebook/Social or personal Websites: When assessing you for role suitability in the selection process, the recruiter will perform a search on your name via the internet. This can be both beneficial and detrimental; if you use social networks then you are the person responsible for how you portray yourself and the accessibility of the data therein. If you consider yourself a bit of a blogger then you may wish to include a link to your blog. If the blog in question adds something to your application (such as a record of papers that you may have written for an academic institution then use it and explain why on the cv. If your webspace is a place where you rant about life or just generally make vacuous statements based on an ill informed perspective then do not make the recruiter or employer aware. Equally, do not be surprised if the more tech savvy recruiter finds your fetish site and dismisses your application (Group).
  • Lies and truth bending: Any type of bending the truth or lying on your CV is illegal.
  • Age: Age discrimination is illegal and you are not required to put your DOB on a CV. However, by omitting your DOB you can expect to cause an irritation as you the recruiter will try and calculate your age by studying when you started your first position, left university or school. And while you may blister at the thought of someone doing this, it does occur (Group). There is a positive to this and it is experience may be emphasised. You could be a “seasoned campaigner” or a “whizz kid” both of which could say you have achieved a great deal in a time scale and therefore the merits of being old, young or somewhere in-between are viewed positively. Out of all the prejudices, I personally think that age is the one that is not as prevalent as it was in the past.
  • Name: Put your name on your CV and ignore what Nick Clegg said The chances of you being discriminated against by name and not getting a job are low but no one seems to have a percentage. We live in a multi-cultural society and the majority of people in senior decision making positions realise this and make informed choices on employment accordingly. I would suggest that if you are a victim of prejudice then make a complaint to the relevant authority, consider yourself lucky enough to find out before you begin employment and try and find a position with a modern or forward thinking business that appreciates talent as the main criteria for employment.
    Usually (thankfully), the reason you will not get a job in 99% of instances is either, you are not good enough, lack required experience or lack suitability of key criteria. One other reason, your cv was not optimised for the ATS and your application fell at the first obstacle.

    Do you think I covered all the detail relative to your CV? Add a comment below and let us know.


CV Tip Number 4 Phone Number

CV Tip #4 Phone number

Quickly following CV Tip #3 (which needed a post of its own) comes the other superfluous and sometimes erroneous detail on your CV. Begin with the phone number. Most people over 30 and under 60 tend to have 2, the good old landline and a mobile (or cell for the rest of the world; is that because you are a prisoner to it?). Those of you that were awake early will be quick to point out that you have 2 mobiles (one for work and one social) and also potentially a work landline. In the instance of your CV you need to use “YOUR LANDLINE and YOUR MOBILE”. Simply because you own them and therefore are unlikely to change them frequently. Put them in the footer of your CV and please make sure they are correct and include area codes.[info]Anecdote:
Recently, we had an application from an individual applying for a COO role and they had not included phone numbers or an email address for contact as “they were fed up with being contacted and offered roles”. Whilst I understand recruiters are an irritation, if YOU approach a recruiter then expect to be contacted! [/info]

Put your name on your CV.

CV Tip #3 Put your name on your CV

Your Name on Your CV

Hard to believe? Not really. We always have CVs through where the person has not put their name on the document. Personally, I fail to understand how this can happen as there really is no explanation for it. The role your name assumes is pivotal and not the reason Nick Clegg came up with a while ago; it is a point of reference by which you are known! Sorry to bang on about it but it will cripple your chances and shows a lack of attention to detail.

Remember, if your CV does not go directly to an individual then it will go to an ATS and will be parsed for the detail in relation to the job applied for. The parse also looks for name, address, DOB, phone, email, linkedin or any other data pertinent to that particular recruiter/employer.

Final advice for your name; ensure it’s on every page of the CV by utilising the document footer. Take a look at this video from

CV Tip #2

Where should education be placed on a CV?

You have just two options depending on background;

Students with no experience would do well to start with their education first as the recruiter or employer will try and establish a link with how well you performed in school or university as to how this could translate to the workplace. Those with any paid work, voluntary or internship history should position education at end of the CV.

But why?

The reader wants to know (as quickly as possible), what you are doing now or the last position you held as this gives an indication to suitability for the postion that you have applied for. Granted that application tracking software (ATS) will try and extract pertinent data and attempt to match you to the postion but there will still be a good old fashioned human being tasked with reading your CV and determining if it’s time well spent attempting to contact you.

CV tip #1

Should I write a profile for my CV?

This is quite a difficult question to answer for a number of reasons;

1. If you consider the role of the person tasked with reading your CV after it has passed through the ATS then these days the emphasis for a CV is usually matching skills and achievements under a description of the role you fulfilled within the company you worked for.

2. Writing a paragraph of detail described as a profile preceding this will invariably find the reader ignoring it as they prefer all information in a relative section.

3. Further to this, if your career to date has not amounted to much or you are of a level below a management position it’s a probably a waste of time writing a profile because at junior levels the profile requirement diminishes even further.

Except none of this is actually completely correct.

Here’s why;

Every recruitment organisation uses a management system called an ATS to either filter responses to adverts or to manage a database of candidates and this is where you can use the profile paragraph to your advantage. The ATS will filter suitable candidates based on keyword matches. If you write a keyword rich profile this will only help you get noticed in the database and will not hinder your choices in any way.

This is also the reason why an Executive CV should always have a profile – it is an opportunity to highlight detail early in the document and thus entice the reader to look further into the CV. This also correlates with the way Linkedin is currently using the summaris(z)e paragraph.


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