Crafting the perfect CV: Do’s and Don’ts for job seekers

As the summer holidays come to an end, we often see an increase in the number of candidates submitting their CV and starting a job hunt. With a whiff of Autumn in the air and three whole months left until the festive season heralds the end of the year, September is the perfect time to give your CV a refresh. Your CV is your ticket to landing your dream job, and making it stand out is essential in today’s competitive landscape. To help you make a lasting impression on potential employers, here are some valuable do’s and don’ts for crafting the perfect CV, from Consultant Mahanoor Shazad. 

✅ Do’s: 

  1. Clear structure: Start with a clear and organised structure. Use headings like Contact Information, Summary, Work Experience, Education, and Skills to ensure your CV is easy to navigate. 
  2. Tailored content: Customise your CV for each job application. Highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that directly align with the specific role you’re applying for. 
  3. Quantify achievements: Numbers speak volumes. Use metrics to showcase your accomplishments and provide concrete evidence of your impact in previous roles. 
  4. Keywords: Incorporate industry-specific keywords throughout your CV. Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen CVs, so using the right keywords can increase your chances of getting noticed. 
  5. Showcase skills: Shine a spotlight on your technical and soft skills. Share examples of how you’ve effectively used these skills in past positions. 
  6. Professional summary: Craft a concise and compelling summary that captures your career goals and key strengths. This is your chance to make a strong first impression. 
  7. Reverse chronological order: List your work experience and education in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent first. This format makes it easy for employers to see your career progression. 
  8. Consistent formatting: Maintain consistent fonts, bullet points, and spacing for a polished and professional appearance. 
  9. Contact details: Ensure your contact information is up-to-date and accurate. Also, make sure your LinkedIn profile is accessible from your CV. 

❌ Don’ts: 

  1. Irrelevant details: Skip including unrelated hobbies or personal information unless they’re directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. 
  2. Excessive length: Keep your CV concise; ideally, it should be no longer than three pages. Focus on presenting relevant information clearly. 
  3. Generic language: Avoid using generic phrases like “hard-working” or “team player.” Instead, provide specific examples that demonstrate your attributes. 
  4. Spelling and grammar mistakes: Proofread your CV thoroughly to eliminate any typos or errors. Attention to detail matters. 
  5. Unprofessional email: Use a professional email address for correspondence. An address like “[email protected]” is much more suitable than a casual one. 
  6. Negative language: Maintain a positive tone throughout your CV. Avoid negative language when discussing past employers or experiences. 
  7. Oversharing: While honesty is important, avoid sharing overly personal information that isn’t directly relevant to the job you’re seeking. 
  8. Inconsistent dates: Ensure that your employment dates and educational timeline are accurate and consistent. 
  9. Lack of action verbs: Start bullet points with strong action verbs to describe your responsibilities and achievements. This adds impact to your CV.

As you embark on your job search journey, remember that your CV plays a crucial role in shaping employers’ perceptions of you. By following these do’s and avoiding these don’ts, you’ll be well on your way to presenting yourself in the best possible light. Your dream job could be just around the corner, and your perfectly crafted CV will help you stand out and seize the opportunity. Feel free to send it to me to see if I can help – and good luck! 

Mahanoor Shazad – [email protected] 

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