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To ask you how to write the perfect cv?

(41 Posts)
Nokidsnoproblem Sun 21-Apr-13 07:19:57

What are the do's and don't's of a good cv?

What's the worst cv you've seen and what is the best?

IAmJacksRagingBileDuct Sun 21-Apr-13 07:22:54

Interested in this too, each cv builder seems to be slightly different and I always think the 'personal statement' type bit just looks contrived and a bit ridiculous no matter what you write, job hunting very soon so will watch with interest.

TheChimpParadox Sun 21-Apr-13 07:23:29

Have a look at the 'Going back to Work ' topic - a few threads on there about CV.
I think the most important thing is that it had to be specific to the job you are applying for - so if you already have a generic one tailor it to meet the skills experience of the job you are applying for.

WaitingForMe Sun 21-Apr-13 07:49:04

It really depends on industry. I recently recruited for my marketing agency and overly professional/formal CVs got rejected as I needed someone creative. DH is an accountant and his CV has a very clear structure with role breakdown. It is a bit dull but fits the way the recruiters he's targeting works.

jakesmommy Sun 21-Apr-13 08:00:56

Try this website

Waswondering Sun 21-Apr-13 08:14:43

Be truthful
See it as a marketing document: you are communicating your experience and achievements
2 pages max
Don't split a section across the page break
Name, bio data.
Education .... Most recent first.
Work experience
Membership of professional bodies, if relevant
Skills - use person spec to help shape this

Accompany with a tailored covering letter.

Good luck!

bringmeroses Sun 21-Apr-13 09:21:02

Make it relevant.

Think of it as an advert telling someone why you are the person for the job. Highlight the skills you want to use in your job.

2 pages max, Times New Roman font 12, lots of white space for someone to make note. Short sharp and to the point.

TenPenceMixture Sun 21-Apr-13 09:42:21

i regularly receive CVs.

I hate cover letters that are too short. I have literally had "I am applying for this job, CV enclosed". This was from an internal candidate who reckoned I knew him already. I had to quietly point out that more than one person was on the interview panel, so a bit of effort wouldn't go amiss.

Conversely too long is awful- do not waffle on about your lifelong commitment to the role, we take it as a given you want to do it, and love the career, if you are applying.

Write your cover letter mentioning a few qualities or skills, then write your CV wth the job advert in mind.

Eg you might say you are an expert in your field; however, if the job advert asks for a particular niche make sure you big it up if you have it.

Keep your most recent experience at the top of your CV.

Don't miss out vital info worrying about being PC. I am not too keen on CVs without a DOB on them. Usually you can roughly work out a persn's age by their experience, so why hide it and why make me half to guess? As an employer real life experience is important to me, so if I see an application from someone in their 40s I would be thinkng, brilliant, they will bring loads to the role, so I would be more inclined to call them for interview.

TenPenceMixture Sun 21-Apr-13 09:44:04

waiting I work in a creative industry too; personaly I prefer the professional CVs, but did call somene for interview once as their CV was quirky enough to stand out. He was also super enthusiastic at the interview, and got the job.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 21-Apr-13 09:47:14

I'm also struggling with this due to being in a creative industry. I'm a copywriter and my work experience is so extensive I'd have to provide a booklet never mind a few sheets of paper!

I think I need a website....but then again, I recently fancied a little job somewhere to get me into society more and I realised that employers would be hmm at my potential as all my experience involves working alone!

EduCated Sun 21-Apr-13 09:55:17

I went through about 250 CVs this week <gin>

Make it relevant to the job, even if your skills aren't. Don't just list what you've done. Eg, if you worked in a shop, rather than:

-Served customers at the till
-Stocked shelves
-Filed invoices


-Served customers at the till, using tact and diplomacy to deal,with difficult customers
-Stocked shelves, requiring attention to detail and good organisation
-Filed invoices gaining experience in basic retail administration

Make it relevant to the job. Use the job description like a checklist and make sure you mention every part of the person specification. They don't care so much about what you have done as what you can do!

Although I would counter TenPence's point and say that we barely even noticed if people put their DOB on. It's not really relevant to us so we don't particularly care.

EduCated Sun 21-Apr-13 09:56:55

Also, if you do put things like DOB, don't go as far as the applicant who included height, weight, a description of her general appearance (including hair colour and being 'slim') and tell us about what you like to wear for work confused

That was an odd one.

sashh Sun 21-Apr-13 10:15:54

Don't miss out vital info worrying about being PC. I am not too keen on CVs without a DOB on them. Usually you can roughly work out a persn's age by their experience, so why hide it and why make me half to guess?

But it is the experience that is important, not their DOB.

Keep it simple and relevant.

So things I miss off my CV - that I have a certificate in Advanced Life Support because this only lasts three years before you need to do a refresher course so it has lapsed.

DOB, marital status, number of children - not relevant so miss them off.

JamieOliveOil Sun 21-Apr-13 10:26:12

After being made redundant recently, I needed to write my CV. I googled and found and they have loads of examples of mock CVs for every industry. I created my CV using the layout from one of the examples and content from a few whilst, obviously, using my personal details, skills and experience.

Anyway, I found that for jobs that required a CV and covering letter, I'd tweek my CV aimed at each individual vacancy, using the personal spec and job descriptions.

I think it worked as I've just got a job!

ExRatty Sun 21-Apr-13 10:53:40

No DOB. Not relevant.

TheChimpParadox Sun 21-Apr-13 12:25:38

In preparing my CV I was kindly given some friends/DH colleagues CV's to look at - none of them had DOB - we are all in our 40's and have nearly 30 yrs each of work behind us.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 21-Apr-13 12:39:46


Have a look at the 'Going back to Work ' topic - a few threads on there about CV.

we are going to move this there now
best of luck with the search op

QuantitativePleasing Sun 21-Apr-13 15:03:33

Seems the DOB thing is not a hang up for most people. I prefer seeing it, so maybe I have ishoos!

Waswondering Sun 21-Apr-13 15:05:39

Interesting .... We advise no DOB on CVs - as age discrimination legislation means a candidates' age should not impact on the decision to recruit .... And yes, they can work out from your schooling roughly how old you are ....

lljkk Sun 21-Apr-13 17:47:11

EduCated I would have thought the simpler version of experience was better, and that it was obvious what skills candidate would need to have or to develop to do the jobs competently so why have to list them. But you seem to be saying that you prefer:

Experience: what it taught/what skills were gained from it


If it's true that most recruiters view 99% of CV content as lies I just do not know what does look worthy enough.

Problem with DOB is I think it's used (illegally or not doesn't matter) to filter out too quickly.

Broodzilla Sun 21-Apr-13 17:51:35

save it as a PDF to avoid formatting issues. smile

EduCated Sun 21-Apr-13 17:57:50

We prefer to know what you've learnt. I've been looking at CVs for two entirely different jobs this week. We basically wanted a ticklist of the person spec with examples. This is especially relevant for us where the candidates almost always don't have direct experience for the role.

The ones which were just a list of what they did were classed as 'not enough evidence'. Obviously more skilled things, this does count. <Sorry, finding it hard to explain in writing!>


Worked behind a bar - bad

Served customers, handled payments and used ePOS, dealt with difficult customers - better

RiaOverTheRainbow Sun 21-Apr-13 18:01:57

The problem is it's so dependent on personal taste.

What my benefits adviser recommends (this is probably mostly for low income jobs) is tailor your personal statement to the job, use bullet points, list key skills then work/volunteering then education, and use your covering letter to expand on why your experience/skills are relevant.

You can use this site - under each of your job titles list things from 'the work' and in your covering letter explain why you have the bits from 'skills and knowledge'.

PiratePanda Sun 21-Apr-13 18:25:29

No need to put DOB on; it's illegal to discriminate by age so it's wholly irrelevant and people can work it out anyway from your education/employment history . But do put your nationality/immigration status on if it's at all unclear whether or not you can legally work in the country.

After that, it's really down to the industry, but as a general rule, cover letters should be no longer than 2 pages (preferably 1.5) and CVs should be no longer than 3 pages (preferably 2). And they should ALWAYS be individually tailored to the particular job. You should list your employment, education, etc in reverse date order beginning with your latest post.

If you've been out of school for more than 15 years, don't bother putting your GCSEs/A Levels on unless it's particularly relevant to the post you're applying for (e.g. music industry administration and you did A Level music but maybe haven't used it since).

PiratePanda Sun 21-Apr-13 18:28:14

(And don't whatever you do include a photograph unless it's an industry norm, e.g. modelling, acting!)

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