17 tips guaranteed to get your CV noticed

1) Your finished CV should cover two sides of A4 with standard formatting margins

An employer could have anything up to about a thousand CVs (and I am not joking) to wade through. Can you just imagine how they may feel when they come to a CV that is 5 sides of A4 long? Your CV on 2 sides of A4 will not in itself guarantee you the interview. What it will do though is make sure that they do actually read it and not get immediately rejected

(2) Your CV should be printed out onto white or light beige paper and printed using a laser or quality ink jet printer.

Conservative and traditional are two very good words to have in mind when writing your CV. The very last thing that you want to do is alienate people who might think that you are trying to be “unique” or “way out”.

No matter what you may have read about people who have got jobs using a “different” approach, trust what works

Studies have shown that when people are presented with a CV printed on coloured paper and asked to compare the same CV printed out on white paper, people preferred the one which was printed on the plain white paper

(3) Use easy to read fonts in easy to read sizes.
Clear, easy to read fonts in sizes large enough to read easily for most people should be used on your CV.

Remember that the recruiter may be older than you and possibly have poor eyesight. Subconsciously, having a CV that is easy to read doesn’t make for any internal jarring and discomfort.

The fonts we recommend are: Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana

Arial is a nice, clean font and good for overall use, Times New Roman looks slightly more like handwriting but is still easy to read and Verdana was developed specifically for use on the web and is very easy to read on a screen but looks a little more clinical and cold in print

(4) The first things to put on your CV are your personal details

Centred at the top of the page, put your name on the first line. Just Christian name and surname are absolutely fine. Don’t put your other names on the CV, particularly if you have more than one additional name. The reason for this is that is seems like you are making a point.

For example, my full name is Glenn Llewelyn Hughes but I just use Glenn Hughes. Using my middle name could imply that I’m some sort of Nationalist in the eyes of a recruiter

Your full postal address and postcode come next. After this, telephone numbers including one landline and a mobile number. Last in this section is an email address

Make sure it’s a sensible email address, for example, glennhughes@cvthatworks.com and not superrobotalienbugblaster@hotmail.co.uk. You get the idea. If your work email could get intercepted or looked at by someone else and you don’t want your employer to know you are applying for a new job somewhere else, get yourself a Google mail, hotmail or AOL free email address

(5) Put your CV in reverse chronological order

The most recent work experience and achievements are more relevant and definitely where you should start from

(6) Focus on achievements not responsibilities.

Put yourself in the shoes of an employer for just a minute. The recruiter is looking to see if you are a good “fit” for their organisation. One of the best ways to do this is to show what you have achieved.

Quantifiable, real achievements show what you have done for the companies that you have worked for. It is an easy step therefore for the employer to then see what you can do for their company

(7) Avoid the use of borders on your CV.

It’s unnecessary and clutters up the page

(8) Never copy and paste responsibilities from your current job description

Not only is this lazy and unimaginative, the language in which the CV is written should be consistent all the way through. Either write the whole CV yourself or get a professional CV writing service to do it for you. Whichever way you choose, make sure it’s the same person that writes all of it or it will feel disjointed

(9) Make sure that there are no date gaps in your CV

Pretty straight forward really- if there are gaps, it will be very obvious to the reader and it’s one of the things that recruiters look out for all the time. Never ever give a recruiter a reason to doubt you. You cannot afford even the seed of a doubt to be placed in the mind of the reader

(10) Use bullet points

When showing achievements, short sharp bullet points make the point quickly, accurately and neatly.

For example:

• Increased personal sales of photocopiers by £105,000 p.a. (14.3%) in 2008 (highest in team of 5)

(11) Show that there is a difference between professional and educational qualifications for purpose of clarification

Educational qualifications are gained at an educational institution like a school, college, university, etc.

Professional qualifications are gained through a training provider, company, individual, etc. The difference is subtle yet important. If the recruiter is a real professional, they will understand the effort that you have made to both understand and also to highlight the difference. This is one of the hallmarks of the professional CV writer

(12) Use an “Other employment” section

If you have a long career (maybe you are older or have done many jobs), concentrate on showing details of your achievements in the last three companies that you have worked for. Use a section towards the end of your CV called “Other work” to give a one line summary for each of your previous jobs

(13) Interests and hobbies can be shown as a very short list

Just two or three is sufficient, not a long list. I’ve seen up to 10 (really!) Making sure that the interests are actually interesting is very important as well. Don’t just put reading, TV and going down the pub. If you don’t have any different interests, leave it out

(14) Leave out your date of birth

Identity theft is a very real issue and in the information age, your CV can end up in any place on the planet. Just put your actual age, 55 years old as an example or just leave it out

(15) Photographs should be left out of your CV

Unless there is a pressing need to have a photograph, for example if you are applying for a modelling job and how you look is important, leave the photograph out. If the employer insists on a photograph, you may want to reconsider whether or not you actually want to work for the company

The only valid reason that I can see for having a photograph is to help the interviewer to remember what you look like after an interview and to jog their own memory. No other reasons are acceptable as they imply that your looks are somehow fundamental to the job requirements

(16) Languages

If you have a proficiency in one or more languages, you need to show, by example how proficient you are. For example, French language skills, used to discuss sport with friends, negotiate purchases, sell photographic equipment to manufacturers, etc.

(17) Computer skills

Use the same sort of process as per language skills. Show how you have used specific computer skills.

For example, used Microsoft PowerPoint to create powerful presentations demonstrating benefits of ABC Company’s photocopiers to managing directors

Author: Glenn Hughes

I’m a professional CV writer who also writes website content, LinkedIn profiles, helps people with bespoke job applications and more. I’ve been writing for the internet since 2009 and have many published articles.


  • Glenn Hughes

    I'm a professional CV writer who also writes website content, LinkedIn profiles, helps people with bespoke job applications and more. I've been writing for the internet since 2009 and have many published articles.

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