Careers Advice

How to write a good CV 

Recruiters are looking for confident candidates who provide facts and figures to support their successes rather than vague generalisations.

For instance, it’s no good casually mentioning you have a proven track-record in generating business. What would really impress the recruiter is learning how much business you delivered and in what time-frame.

Similarly, it’s best to steer clear of meaningless jargon, such as “hardworking”, “teamplayer” and “pro-active” as every Tom, Dick and Harry that applies for a job has exactly those qualities, too. It’ll make the recruiter’s day if instead you give hard evidence that illustrates why you are all those things – and more.

In short, if you can discipline yourself to make use of active, upbeat language in presenting your achievements you’re well on the way to beating the rest of the pack to an interview. Here are a few pointers…

Be positive – avoid using negative words

Selling yourself is one thing, using so many positive adjectives that your skills sound unbelievable is another. And always tailor your CV to be relevant to the job you’re applying for, mirroring the keywords used in the job advertisement.

In a nutshell:

  • Never generalise
  • Use active sentences
  • Use high-impact words
  • Never simply list your job-spec, be assertive about what you do
  • Present any negative experiences in a positive way
  • Be confident about your abilities


Interview Tips

Before the interview:

  • Check the map and directions
  • Get a copy of the job spec
  • Re-read your CV again
  • Print of further copies in case the interviewer needs more copies
  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Leave in plenty of time
  • Remember to have telephone numbers and names of interviewers on you in case of delay
  • Remember Murphy’s Law. If it can go wrong – it will. Don’t leave anything to chance.

Upon arrival:

  • Who do you ask for?
  • The interviewer may be nervous too! Have some “stock” questions to relax both of you. You may have far to walk to the interview room. Perhaps someone else will pick you up and take you to the interviewer?
  • Talk about your journey
  • Talk about their journey..? People like to talk – get them to do the work!
    Discuss the building, their products, successes, their Founder etc.
  • Will you be offered a drink? Don’t hesitate in telling them what you want
  • Have your papers to hand and your questions ready. Use a folder for your documentation.

During the interview:

  • Listen, Listen, Listen. You have two ears and one mouth. Heard that before? Remember it.
  • Some interviewers are better than others. Help them to get the best out of you
    If you need to, take control – ask them if it’s OK to talk through you CV with them
  • Body language is key. Don’t slouch – and think about what you will do with your hands.
  • Don’t interrupt. If you think of something important, make a note immediately and come back to it later
  • If you believe that you would be very good at this job, tell them exactly why

People buy from people

Sure, this is an interview – but if you genuinely get on with the interviewer and like them, the chances are they’ll like you too. They will be calculating if you will get on with the existing team – and will your future success help them.


Good luck!