How to Write a CV

Writing a CV is an important task that can take a great deal of time and effort, but with these useful CV writing tips it should make applying for a job that bit easier.

CV Layout

CV length is a key factor, many wonder when writing a CV how many pages it can be. This entirely depends on the length of your career and the relevance that it may have to the job that you are applying for.

We would usually recommend that a CV be no longer than two pages if possible, aimed at selling yourself to the recruiter in less than 30 seconds. Remember, they are busy people, inundated with CVs, and your CV should be no more than an advertisement of your key skills and experience.

Recruiters will be looking at your CV to find out if you have the right skills and experience, suitable interpersonal and communication skills, the ability to flourish in the company's environment and the competence and confidence to adapt to the job. These are the attributes you need to try and put across when writing your CV.

Attention to layout and good use of space has a big impact on the weary eye of a recruiter. The traditional CV style wasted an enormous amount of space and included unnecessary information. Use white or cream paper and use a ‘letter head’ style to include your name and basic contact details. Particulars such as marital status, driving licence and nationality details can be included in a brief personal summary at the end of the CV.

Before you begin make a few notes about your strengths and weaknesses and ensure all your dates are correct etc. Remember, the following is just a guide – not all parts may apply to you.

CV Personal Statement

A personal statement or personal profile acts as your CV opening statement. It should provide a descriptive summary of your professional designation (e.g. a chartered accountant or web designer), backed up by key features of your professional self, including your immediate ambitions. Ideally this should be punchy, precise and no more than three sentences.

Most Recent Job Experience

Provide basic details of your most recent or most important job role so far. Include your job title, the name of the company and date of commencement. This should be followed by a two-sentence description of the job role and about 6 bullet points of your key responsibilities, tasks and achievements in the role.

If you've done a good job, the recruiter will be reaching for the phone to call you in for an interview before even reading the second page!

The Second Page

Secondary work experience can appear on the second page. Again, include dates of employment, job title and main duties involved. If you have a long, important, career history then you can indulge yourself a third page.

Minute details of jobs held more than 10 years ago, reasons for leaving a previous job, current and past salaries can be left out entirely.

CV Key Achievements

Within your CV key achievements should be presented as bullet points – 3 to 5 relevant achievements should be sufficient.

CV Interests / Hobbies Section

At the end of your CV interests and hobbies can be included, in the form of a brief personal overview including details of any non work-specific attributes and activities such as hobbies, volunteer work etc. Recruiters like to see the 'human' aspect of a candidate and often you can make a further impact by mentioning key attributes of your character that are commendable.

Each time you apply for a job your CV should be customised to suit that position if possible. Remember that less is more, avoid squeezing too much onto the page, use white space to effect and choose a font that is easy to read. Carefully selected wording can turn a dull CV into a masterpiece, but avoid jargon. Including insignificant detail and non-relevant experience is unnecessary. Don't worry if your CV has a few 'holes' in it from a year abroad or a study break - today's recruiters are very understanding providing you have a good explanation to back yourself up in the interview.

CV Checklist

Checking your CV is possibly the most important part of the entire process. A small error, or misleading information, can seriously undermine all your effort. At a professional level, grammar, spelling and punctuation should all be impeccable.

  1. Is it easy on the eye?
  2. Have you checked the grammar, punctuation and spelling?
  3. Are the names of all proper nouns correct and capitalised?
  4. Are all the details you've given on this particular CV relevant to this application?
  5. Personal profile details correct and on point?
  6. Is it concise, punchy and informative?
  7. Are your examples specific?
  8. Is there too much detail?
  9. Is the personal summary meaningful? If not, leave it out.
  10. Now, read through it one last time, you're bound to find one final mistake!

Try to print out individual copies of your CV rather than sending out photocopies – it may suggest that you are desperately sending your CV out to anyone you can. It's perfectly acceptable to email your CV, but send it as an MS Word document to ensure it is readable by all PC users.


If you would like to find out more about jobs available in Guernsey or would like help or support during the job application process, contact Leapfrog Recruitment Consultants on +44 (0) 1481 711188 and one of our team will be happy to help.


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