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Making your CV Shine
Tuesday 14 Oct 2014

Your CV is the written version of you. It’s your first chance to make a great impression and engage with potential employers. Just as you’d plan what to wear to an interview, your CV also needs thought and preparation.

Writing a CV is intimidating for everyone. It’s difficult to know what to include, what to omit and how to make your CV stand out. An HR or hiring manager may only have 30 seconds to review it, along side potentially hundreds of others vying for the same attention, so your CV needs to make an immediate positive impact.

Why is a CV important?


  • • Although the world now has a variety of social media tools to choose from, CV’s are still a standard first measure of a candidate’s abilities. So much so, that LinkedIn now provides a CV builder based on your profile.
  • • Employers are looking for content that is relevant to the company and the specific role you are applying for, presented in a concise, grammatically correct, easy to read format.
  • • Recruiting managers will initially be scanning for relevant key words, but the lay out of your information can be just as important in setting expectations of your talents ahead of any interview.
  • • Poor presentation hides your most important experience and skills, stops your CV being read and ultimately prevents your application moving to the next stage.
  • • Good presentation attracts the recruiter to your CV, clearly communicating that you have the abilities required for the role and giving the recruiter a positive feel about you. It’s these factors which decide who makes it to first interview

Standard Components of a CV

  • • Contact details
  • • Personal Statement/Profile
  • • Skills & Achievements
  • • Experience
  • • Education
  • • Hobbies/Interests
  • • Links to your portfolio

First impressions count

  • • Use action words to start each description (see below)
  • • Check that the information you include makes sense and is easy to understand.
  • • Try reading what you’ve written out loud, and get someone else to double check your grammar and spelling.
  • • Emphasise accomplishments and responsibilities.
  • • Be clear and concise and avoid making complicated or confusing statements.
  • • Use consistent layout to maintain the look of the page i.e. if one heading is in bold, then all other headings should follow that format.
  • • Use a font that is easy to read such as Arial, Helvetica or Century Gothic.
  • • If you’re applying for a creative role, then think creatively about your CV

What are action words?

These enhance your CV making your statements and descriptions more powerful:

7 Deadly sins of CV writing


  • • Avoid Lengthy CV’s (usually two sides of A4 is enough).
  • • Don’t lie, embellish or misrepresent your skills.
  • • Don’t be too loud or ornate (coloured paper and bad fonts might get you remembered for all the wrong reasons)
  • • Avoid slang, jargon, abbreviations and repetitions (use a thesaurus).
  • • If you are including a photograph, keep it appropriate and professional.
  • • Avoid loading your CV with irrelevant information (marital status, age, religion).
  • • Don’t criticize past employers (either on your CV or during the interview process).

Talk to Denholm

As a specialist sales and marketing recruitment agency we help people at every stage of their job search.  Send us your CV and we’ll give you an honest assessment and recommendations to help your CV shine.

Contact us now on +44 (0)131 554 6191 or email: