There’s a lot hanging on the success of your CV. Most people appreciate how important their CV is when they apply for jobs. So why do people find them so difficult to write? In the previous Blog: Do You Want to Know the Big 4 CV Mistakes, I outlined the 4 mistakes people often make when they write their CVs. These same 4 things also help us understand why people find it hard to write their CVs. Let’s take a look at them again and some of the questions people often ask me:

Format:  What is a good way to format a CV? Do I use colour? What font will work best? What size should the font be?

Information: What do I put in? What do I leave out? What personal information do I include? Should I include my photo?

Relevance: Should I put everything in? What about jobs I had a long time ago? How relevant is my training?

Length: Does the number of pages matter? I have a lot of really important information-why can’t I leave it all in?


So what do you need to know? Some really important information for you:

It’s very hard to rate a prospective candidate well for a job, when they have submitted a poorly presented and formatted CV.

That is why formatting is so important. You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression with your CV. If it’s hard to read, if it looks cramped, if the sections are not well organised, and if there are too many distracting elements in there, your CV will not do what you need it to do.

Recruiters will only briefly skim over each CV the first time round. By ‘Brief’ I’m talking about roughly 20 seconds per CV.

What are they looking for in this quick skim over? They are looking for a match between your skills and those required to do the job. They will be checking out your employment history to see what experience you have had. And they will check out your qualifications. If they have lots of CVs to review for a particular job, that’s about as much attention as your CV is going to get first time around. Now put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter or manager who is reviewing the CVs. They have a lot to process, so they are likely to make quick decisions at this stage. If they have to plough through a lot of information that is not relevant to the job, or if they have to work hard to find what they need to know, then they are likely to miss some really important things about you.

Details matter. Length matters. Inappropriate information matters.

There are expectations about what needs to be in a CV, and there is a roughly acceptable length for most CVs. There are also some things that people put in their CVs that really shouldn’t be there. If your CV steps outside expectations and accepted norms, then it might not work in terms of getting you an interview. And getting an interview is what you want if you are applying for a job.
The information in your CV needs to be relevant and well organised, to make it easy for those who are reading it to find what they want to know.

Look at your CV and ask yourself:

  • Is it in a format that will serve you well if you need to use it tomorrow?
  • Is your information up to date?
  • Does your ‘Skills’ section give a true representation of the value you might bring to any future role?
  • Would it get a big tick for Format, Information, Relevance and Length?
Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist

M: +64 21 526 387

It’s CV month at Career Clinic

If you are job searching of changing jobs, and you need help to shape up good cover letters and CVs, then book in some coaching sessions with me. I’ll help you work out the best strategy for you, and give you clear guidance on how to write and format Cover Letters, CVs and your LinkedIn Profile.

My goal is to give YOU the information, coaching and skills YOU need to be successful.

Phone me now

Janet - 021 526 387

Don’t apply for another job without getting your CV sorted.

This is the 6th blog in the CV series. In the next Blog I will highlight some CV Tips for Students and tell you about a great resource for teens to help them find out about jobs.

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