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Dos and don’ts for writing a winning CV

Do:

  1. Type your CV and print it on plain white paper, using one simple font throughout.
  2. Make sure you spell-check your CV thoroughly. If it’s littered with spelling mistakes, it can’t be a winning CV.
  3. Be realistic and sell your skills without making things up. There’s no point saying you speak fluent French if all you can say is “Bonjour” and “Au revoir.”
  4. Use headings in bold or underlined text to highlight different sections of your CV and make it easy to read.
  5. Revise your CV for every job you go for, to make sure you address the specific needs of each employer.
  6. Use bullets points to create short, sharp sentences that define your skills and experience without dragging on forever.
  7. Ask someone to read over your CV and give constructive criticism. This could be an employment and training advisor, someone who works in your target industry, or someone with recent experience of job-hunting and CV-writing. Remember to trust your instincts, though; everyone has their own opinion, and suggested changes aren’t always for the better. 

Don’t:

  1. Use coloured or fragranced paper with different font sizes and types.
  2. Make doodles or draw pictures on your CV to add that personal touch.
  3. Create a CV that’s more than two pages long. The longer it is, the less likely an employer is to read it.
  4. Type huge blocks of text – they look dense and difficult to read.
  5. Include details and information that bear no relevance to the job you’re going for, or to employment more generally.
  6. Fold your CV. Use A4 envelopes where possible, to keep it in pristine condition.
  7. Use your CV as a place to rest your coffee. Bear in mind that if your CV’s dirty and poorly kept, it’ll affect how the employer perceives you.