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No boxes, No tables, please! – Few tips on how to write a ‘good looking’ CV

This subject was touched on so many times that I was questioning myself, should I really write about “writing a good cv” again…. But there were a few things that I felt were important to mention.

As a recruitment consultant I look at and ‘judge’ CVs all day long. It’s a bit harsh to use the word ‘judge’ perhaps, but that is exactly what we do in recruitment.

Please don’t get me wrong, the content of your CV and your experience matter. In fact that’s the most important part. But you have to make sure that you also present it well.

1. Consistent font
I see the same mistake day after day. Different sizes and different types of fonts in a single CV. You would be surprised how many different types and font sizes one can use.

Before you finish your CV press Ctrl + A to highlight it all and choose one font.

2. Misspelling/ Typos
It happens to all of us. And sometimes it’s really hard to spot it. But it’s really important to proofread your CV before submitting it. I would also advise that someone else read it for you. A fresh pair of eyes can often spot mistakes you may have missed.

3. Avoid boxes and tables
It’s probably one of my worst nightmares! I’ve seen CVs fully made up of tables. Education in a table, work experience in tables (each position held in its own table), skills in tables, languages in tables. One big table created out of lots of little tables.

It just really doesn’t look good and it doesn’t read well so please avoid them.

4. ‘European Pass CV’? No, thank you
Similarly to the tables and boxes, the ‘European Pass CV’ format is also very hard to read. You are also very limited in your job description and responsibilities.

Choose a CV format that is easy to read. There are many to choose from in Word, so do your research and pick one that looks clear and professional.

5. Length of your CV
I have been asked this question many times: How long should my CV be?
There is no one answer to this question. I personally don’t believe in limiting yourself to only two pages. How can someone with 15, 20 years of experience fit all they’ve done on only two pages? You wouldn’t have enough space to fit your main responsibilities, not mentioning achievements, additional courses etc.

I believe that it really depends on what position you are currently holding, how many years of experience you have, how many courses you have completed that are relevant to the role you are applying for. I would say that somewhere between 2 and 4 pages is perfect.

6. Tell me where you are working and what are you doing
Remember to write what was your title in each company. Sounds quite obvious? Well, I’ve seen a number of CVs without a position title mentioned.

In relation to any relevant work experience, make sure you have about 10 points explaining your responsibilities.

7. Points not essays
Another important thing to remember is to use points, not long sentences when describing your current and previous positions. Again, it’s much easier to read.

8. Don’t be shy. Tell us about your achievements.
You don’t have to go as far as mentioning trophies in primary school but any achievement that will add value to the position you are applying for, would be worth mentioning: Employee of the month 3 times in a row, customer satisfaction award, cost reduction, reaching targets etc.

9. Be relevant!
If you are applying for an accountancy position make sure that every relevant role you held, has been mentioned and expanded on.

If you were working as a driver, shop assistant or recruitment consultant before becoming an Accountant, try not to expand on these positions too much. A brief explanation of the position will be adequate.

10. Dates of employment: remember about months
When explaining your experience, ensure your dates right. And remember about months.

(2012- 2014) doesn’t tell me much. Are you still in this position? And how long have you been in it? Close to 3 years or less than 2 years?

There are probably more points I could add to the above but those 10 are definitely very important.
If you get your CV right, you will have a much higher chance of being called for an interview.

Those 2-4 pages represent YOU, so make sure to put effort in your Resume!

Aga Nowosad-Kelly

CCP Recruitment Consultant

LinkedIn: ie.linkedin.com/in/aganowosadkelly/

Email: aga@ccprecruit.ie

Phone: 091 73 00 22

Mobile: 086 4667 369

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