Create a CV That Every Recruiter Will be Impressed By
Learning how to write a CV means creating a document that a recruiter can judge in just 6 seconds as worth reading. That’s how long it takes the average recruiter to decide whether to read on or discard your CV.
When you make a CV, it has to look professional, use an appropriate template and only include information that the recruiter cares about. That can seem like a tall order to begin with, but with our helpful advice and CV builder, it’s quick and simple.
What are the top 10 skills that employers want?
The individual skills an employer is looking for may vary slightly from job to job. When you create a CV, however, you can safely assume that the employer will want to see the following:
- An understanding of the individual business or organisation and of the profession as a whole.
- Clear communication skills across a range of audiences.
- The ability to work as part of a team.
- Strong and independent organisational skills.
- The ability to persevere at a task.
- Confidence in your own abilities.
- Time management skills.
- The ability to handle pressure.
- The ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
- A wide range of problem-solving skills.
What do you need in a CV?
Although every CV should be tailored to suit the job being applied for, it will generally have to include the following:
- Contact details.
- Personal statement
- Employment history
- Education history
Our CV builder was created by experts with experience of working in a wide variety of professions. If you’re looking for a job and want to create a CV that impresses the recruiter and gets your foot in the door then look no further. Follow our advice, use our CV builder and learn how to write a job-winning CV.
How to Write a CV: Your Top Questions, Answered
How to write a CV isn’t the kind of thing you learn in school. Knowing what to include, what to leave out and how to fit everything in just a side or two of A4 can be stressful.
The good news is that writing a CV becomes much simpler if you take the right advice and use our CV builder. The following key questions and answers provide the framework to create a CV that will appeal to recruiters, beat an ATS and secure the job you’re looking for.
How do I choose a CV template?
When you make a CV, you need to choose the right CV template. That’s one that was designed with your profession in mind. Take a look at our examples and note the structure, format and language used, then ensure that your CV meets these expectations.
How do I structure my CV?
The structure of your CV needs to be clear and easily navigated. Separate sections should be marked with clear headings, and the emphasis placed on particular sections will change depending on the position being applied for. The use of bullet points and lists in sections such as ‘Employment History’ and ‘Additional Skills’ should make it easy for a recruiter to skim read and find vital keywords.
What are the most common CV formats, and when should I use them?
The most common CV format is a reverse chronological format. In this CV format, your most recent work experience is listed first, enabling a recruiter to instantly see the position you’ve risen to and the skills you’ve acquired.
If you lack work experience you might want to opt for a skills-based format, which details educational achievements and skills gained outside the workplace.
How can CV examples help me to write a better CV?
CV examples set out exactly how to write a CV that gets you the job you’re looking for. You’ll be able to examine the template used, the format for specific positions, and the way in which the facts are set out. You’ll also learn to create a CV that packs the maximum information into the smallest space.
How long should my CV be?
Since recruiters only spend 6 seconds reading the average CV, anything longer than 2 sides of A4 is likely to be rejected instantly. An exception to this rule might apply if you’re seeking an executive or managerial position and want to highlight a wider range of work experience and achievements.
What are the biggest mistakes that jobseekers make when they write their CVs?
Learning how to write a CV means avoiding the kind of mistakes which recruiters are all too used to seeing. These include the following:
- Typos and grammatical mistakes.
- Not using the keywords that a recruiter and an ATS will look for. It’s possible to identify likely keywords when writing a CV by studying the job ad and description, or examining other CVs written for the same kind of position.
- Using clichéd words and phrases like ‘hard-working’, motivated’ and ‘team player’. A recruiter will expect these as a matter of course. Ask yourself if anyone is ever likely to write the opposite of what you’ve written (i.e. ‘doesn’t like hard work’). If not, then it probably doesn’t need to be stated.
Can an online CV builder help me write a great CV?
An online CV builder can make writing a CV fast and simple. You get a template designed by professionals for the position you’re applying for in mind, which makes it easy to decide where to put the information you need. And sample text, tips and advice will enable you to make the strongest possible CV.
How can I best showcase my achievements?
The best way to showcase your achievements is to pick those that are most relevant to the job in question, and back them up with specific facts and figures. Rather than saying ‘strong track record of boosting sales’ for example, explain that you ‘increased sales in the south-east region by 15% in 2 months’.
Do I need a personal statement section?
Learning how to write a CV means learning how to showcase your strong points in the most accessible manner possible. A personal statement at the top of a CV will give a recruiter a brief but effective summary of who you are, the position you are applying for and what you could bring to the role.
What’s the difference between a CV and a resume?
In the UK the words ‘CV’ and ‘resume’ mean the same thing. In both cases, it will be a brief summary of who you are, your employment history and educational achievements, and what you feel makes you the ideal candidate for the position in question.
Is a Skills section important?
Including a skills section when you make a CV is your chance to highlight any attributes that might not otherwise be covered by your employment history. Being in charge of a household, for example, may have given you experience of handling a budget. A sporting achievement could be relevant to a job that has specific physical demands.
Make sure that you only include those skills that are directly relevant to the job in question. You may be very proud of the fact that you can play piano, but it won’t have much relevance when you’re applying for a job in nursing.
I’ve got gaps in my work experience. How do I handle these?
Your CV is your chance to sell yourself to a recruiter, so it’s not the place to highlight any negatives. If you have any gaps in the kind of work experience that a position demands, try to find a way of covering them by referring to transferable skills from other parts of your life.
Should I create a visual CV instead of a text-based CV?
It may be tempting to create a visual CV if you’re applying for a more creative position. But a text-based CV is the best way to communicate the maximum amount of information in a clear and accessible way.
Text that has been formatted properly is more likely to get past an ATS, and will also make it simple for a recruiter to skim-read and decide that it’s worth exploring in depth.
What kind of personal information should I include?
Learning how to write a CV is as much about deciding what to leave out as it is about choosing what to include. A recruiter wants to know about details which are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
You don’t have to include your date of birth, marital status or whether you have children, for example, and research has shown that including a photograph with your CV could lead to 88% of recruiters rejecting it immediately.
I have no experience - what can I write?
You may lack direct employment-based experience of the job in question, but you could still have transferable skills from other areas of your life.
Volunteering, for example, could demonstrate your commitment and ability to work hard, while running a household could show that you can manage a budget. Concentrate on any personal skills or experience that are relevant to the position.
Do I need to write a new CV for each job I apply for?
One of the key aspects of how to write a CV is making sure that it is tailored to the position being applied for.
A CV builder will provide the right templates and formats as well as other tips and advice. The content should be altered each time to include relevant keywords, and to ensure that the details apply to the particular job.
Do I need a cover letter?
You should always include a cover letter with your CV. It will give a recruiter the opportunity to quickly appraise your application and decide whether the CV itself is worth reading. Using the same online tools to create a CV and cover letter will ensure that they both convey a consistent message and create a positive impression.
What is ATS, and why does it matter?
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. It is a form of software which is now used by 75% of multinational companies to scan CVs and look for particular keywords.
If the ATS can’t find these keywords, then your CV won’t even make it into the hands of a recruiter. It’s usually possible to figure out what these keywords will be by closely studying the job ad and description.
How should I write my work experience section?
The key to writing your work experience section when you create a CV is to set it out in reverse chronological order, so that your current status and level of experience is the first thing that a recruiter sees.
You should also highlight any experience which is directly relevant to the job in question, and always try to underline the achievements you mention with facts and figures. If you managed to boost productivity for your company, for example, then tell the recruiter what percentage the increase was over a 12-month period.
What do I put in my CV’s header?
When you’re writing a CV the header section should include your name and up to date contact details. You don’t need to give it a title such as ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ as the recruiter will be well aware what they are reading. Make sure it’s clearly set out in a legible font in order to create an instant good impression.
I already have a LinkedIn profile. Do I really need a CV?
Although your LinkedIn profile may include many of the details a recruiter wants to see, they won’t have the time to read through the profiles of everyone who applies for a position.
When you make a CV, it is your chance to highlight your strongest features in a quick and simple format that can be easily accessed. By including your LinkedIn profile amongst your contact details, you’ll make it possible for a recruiter to explore further if they wish.
Which contact details should I include?
The contact details you include when you create a CV should include your home address and current phone number. If you have a landline and mobile phone, then you should provide both to minimise the chances of missing an important call.
Don’t use a work-based email address as this will look very unprofessional, and make sure that the address you do use is suitable. You might have set up the address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ because you thought it was funny, but a recruiter might not get the joke.
If you don’t have a professional sounding email address, then set up a separate account for job applications.
Similar rules apply to social media profiles - your Instagram, for example, might include pictures from big nights out that you don’t want a prospective employer viewing. Listen carefully to your answerphone message as well - if it’s something light-hearted like ‘Wassup dude?’ then this could be the time to change it.
How formal should my CV be?
Use a CV builder and study other examples from the same industry to decide how formal your CV should be. A simple rule when deciding how to write a CV is that it should be formal enough to look professional, but not so formal that it stops your personality coming through at all.
How important is spelling and grammar?
When just a single spelling or grammar mistake could lead to your CV being rejected then it really couldn’t be more important. Proofread andcheck your CV several times to check for any mistakes, and ask someone else to read it for you as they might spot something you’ve missed. Don’t rely on a spell checker to pick up every mistake, as errors can often slip through.
How honest should I be on my CV?
Although many people admit to being less than truthful on their CV, it really isn’t recommended. By all means concentrate on positive aspects of your life and career, but don’t make claims you can’t actually back up.
Falsely stating that you’re bilingual might seem like it boosts your case, but it won’t feel like such a good idea if an interviewer starts asking you questions in French.
How to Write a Job-Winning CV
Get inspiration from top UK examples
The main purpose of studying how to write a CV is to land the job you’re aiming for. The examples you’ll find on our CV builder have all been created with exactly that task in mind. When there are so many possible CVs available for study - including those written by friends and family - it can be difficult to know which provide the best example.
Our real-world CV examples provide the kind of ideas and inspiration you need when you sit down to create a CV for the job you deserve.
How to write an engineering CV
An engineering CV should use a template that will be recognised in the industry, and set out your work experience and qualifications in a clear and concise way. Use bullet points and lists to fit the maximum information into a compact format.
How to write a student CV
When you create a CV as a student, the emphasis is likely to be on educational achievements rather than work history. Make sure you make up for any lack of direct experience by focusing on personal skills and life experiences.
How to write a fashion CV
A recruiter reading a fashion CV will expect a clear account of your creative abilities, the positions you’ve held, and relevant qualifications. They will also want to see a CV that’s set out using a clear and appealing format.
How to write a great CV
Writing a great CV means using a template that provides the perfect structure. Make sure you include any keywords you need, and write a personal statement that captures what you can offer in less than 200 words.
How to write a marketing CV
When you create a CV for a marketing position you have to demonstrate your achievements in the field, and back this up by using actual facts and figures. A recruiter will be looking for concrete examples of your abilities, the marketing channels you are good at and platforms you are familiar with.
How to write a sales CV
A sales CV will be successful if it focuses on the positions you’ve held and the results you’ve managed to achieve. Only list those sales achievements that are relevant to the post, and include factual details such as the percentage that you managed to push sales up by.
How to write a legal CV
A recruiter will expect a legal CV to be professional, precise and highly accurate. It should showcase the legal experience you have, such as courtroom or arbitration experience, and present it in a clear, concise manner, as well as detailing the degrees you’ve earned.
How to write a nursing CV
When you create a CV for a nursing post you need to demonstrate that you have the right licenses, certifications and skills. You should also convey your passion for the field of nursing, and a commitment to helping others, through your personal statement and additional skills.
How to write a CV for a part time job
A CV for a part time job needs to include the same details as a CV for a full-time job. In addition, it should demonstrate that you understand the nature of working part time and are willing to be flexible in terms of working hours.
How to write a football CV
Any football CV should focus on concrete results. This will mean detailing the teams you’ve been featured in, the positions you’ve played and the success you’ve achieved, set out in lists and bullet points with all relevant facts and figures.
How to write a CV for retail
A CV for retail needs to demonstrate your experience of working in the sector and your understanding of how to deal with the public in a retail environment. The positions you’ve held should be set out in reverse chronological order, so the recruiter can clearly see how far you’ve advanced.
How to write a medical CV
When you create a medical CV, you have to be certain that the details listed include the keywords a recruiter or ATS will be looking for. These could include specialisms, the qualifications needed, and a concise employment history.
How to write a perfect CV
The perfect CV should be no longer than 2 sides of A4 - with the occasional exception for more experienced applicants targeting executive or managerial roles. It should be set out using a template that looks professional, and makes it easy for a recruiter to skim-read and pick out key details.
How to write a successful CV
A successful CV leads to a job interview. That means being set out in a manner which is clear and conforms to industry standards, making it likely to pass the 6 second recruiter review test. It should also include enough relevant information to make the recruiter reading it want to find out more.
How to write a graduate CV
A graduate CV will naturally focus more on educational achievements than work history. It’s still important, however, to include any experience or skills that might be relevant to the position, as well as a strong personal statement outlining your ambition and potential.
How to write a creative CV
A creative CV should be able to capture your personality without missing any vital details such as work experience or qualifications. Don’t be tempted to include visual gimmicks such as ornate fonts or a gimmicky layout, as these will just discourage a busy recruiter from reading further.
How to write a CV with no experience
If you don’t have direct experience of the position in question, then look for other areas of your life where you’ve shown the skills needed. On many occasions, skills can be transferred from volunteer work or even a hobby to the work environment.
How to write a professional CV
A professional CV should use the template and layout a recruiter will be expecting. It should be laid out clearly, using a consistent font and writing style, and it needs to be checked and re-checked several times for spelling and grammar mistakes.
How to write a simple CV
When you create a CV, you should always try to keep things simple. Don’t include your whole life story, just the experience that’s directly relevant to the position in question. Personal information should be kept to a minimum, and lists and bullet points can be used to make it easier to skim-read.
How to write a good CV
A good CV looks professional at first glance, includes the keywords needed to beat an ATS, and explains quickly and simply why you’re suited to the job in question. It should also be tailored for each individual application, to ensure total relevance.
What do Recruiters Expect From a CV?
When you set out to learn how to write a CV your aim is to create a document that appeals to a recruiter. Your CV has to instantly make a good impression, since research has revealed that the average recruiter spends just 6 seconds deciding whether to actually read the rest of a CV.
Making sure you create a CV that looks professional enough to pass this test means considering the following:
- A clear layout with definite sections and headings that makes it easy to skim-read. At a glance, a recruiter should be able to see that you’ve included the information they are looking for.
- A recognised CV structure, which shows the recruiter that you’ve done your research and have taken a professional approach. It will also make it easy for them to quickly check facts such as your work experience and educational history.
- The recruiter and an ATS will both be looking for keywords. You can usually figure out what those words will be by carefully studying the job ad and descriptions. Too few keywords mean recruiters never see your CV. But beware of stuffing too many in, and making your CV seem like rubbishy spam.
- The recruiter will want to see details of relevant work experience and skills, although it is also advantageous to include transferable skills from activities outside the workplace. When you list specific achievements, make sure you give concrete details, such as sales figures, rather than making vague statements.
- Make sure the contact details you include are up to date. Make sure you give your current mobile phone number, and that the email address is suitably professional - although you shouldn’t use a work email address.
Learn How to Write a CV and Get the Job You Want
Create a CV that opens doors
Nobody ever claimed that writing a CV is easy. But with help from our tips and CV builder, you’ll find the process quick, simple, and above all effective. Knowing which format to opt for and using a professionally designed CV template will ensure that your CV meets all industry requirements and passes the 6 second test with flying colours.
What’s more, our CV builder offers tips, content, and examples of what to include. Put all of this together and you’ll have a powerful CV. Make a CV online free today and take a massive step towards landing the kind of job you’ve always wanted.