“My CV / resume is fine – There’s nothing wrong with my CV/resume!”

If I had a pound for every time I was told “there’s nothing wrong with my CV!” I would probably not be writing this article.

Having worked as an Employment Advisor, Job Search Tutor/Trainer and Careers Coach with a vastly differing set of clients ranging from school leavers to executives;   one of the hardest things to do is to get a cynic to change or listen.


I don’t need a CV or resume

For some people a CV is a necessary evil that they have never needed or rarely had cause to use. The classic example of this is the tradesman who has previously gained employment either by word of mouth or by demonstrating his skills as part of a work trial.   You cannot dispute that this is true. Let’s face it if your great CV states you have certain skills; sooner or later you are going to have to demonstrate them. However the reality is that in the current economic climate, the employer holds the cards in more ways than one. Gone are the days when as a tradesman you could leave a job one day and find a new one the next. Employers can now pick from an ever increasing pool of talent and a CV is a useful tool many are turning to shortlist their candidates. A good CV will not guarantee you a job, but a bad CV will almost certainly cost you one.

My CV / resume is fine – it was done by a recruitment agency

Sometimes the reluctance to change can be put down to the fact that the CV was recently constructed by a professional or an agency. This can be very demoralising; especially if you have been charged a hefty fee.

Many recruitment agencies will have a set CV template or include information that many professional career coaches or advisors tell you not to include. The reason for this is very simple. An agency usually has clients that they have consulted with and agreed the quality of CV required. A CV is the agency equivalent of an application form.

There is no one way to create a great CV. If someone is offering you advice that will improve the quality of yours, it is just that. You are free not to take it, but I would suggest you always listen. The bottom line is that it is your CV and you are the one who will have to explain it to prospective employers.

Here are some examples of things that you might consider to make your CV/resume more effective.

  • Length.   I cannot underline how important the length of a CV can be. Whilst you may have a great deal of information to convey to the reader, their time is usually limited. If your CV can interest them in 2 pages, you will more than likely be given the opportunity to either submit a more in-depth /longer version or even better – get invited to an interview.
  • Too fancy. Unless you are in an artistic field/profession, there is no need to use fancy fonts, borders or images on your CV. Impress the reader with the content, not with tricks that have little relevance to your ability to do the job.
  • Not enough information. If a reader cannot gain the information they require to make a decision about you from your CV then they are less likely to contact you. Make sure your CV sells you and your skills.
  • Blandness. This is my personal pet hate. I have been helping people into work for over 10 years. I have seen and helped write thousands of CVs. If you start your personal profile with: “I am a hard working, trustworthy individual who is able to work well in a team or on my own..” please do not expect the reader to jump off their chair in excitement. I am sure they might have read that exact statement a few times and might not be as impressed as they were the first time they read it.

There is no such thing as a perfect CV. If you are getting interviews, then your CV is doing its job; if not get another opinion and change it.  However regularly updating  to make sure it is accurate is strongly recommended.  Your CV / resume represents you so remember how important it is to check for grammar and punctuation.  Sometimes a word transposed or omitted can have a devastating effect.  Just look at some of the worst CV mistakes for examples of bad grammar and punctuation.

Before you send out your CV/resume, you should make sure you have an effective cover letter.

Whatever your profession go to our sample CV / resumes by job title page where you can find free examples of:

Sample Chronological CV / resume

Sample Targeted CV / resume

Sample Administrative Assistant CV / resume

Sample IT Project Manager CV / resume

If you have any suggestions, tips, questions, comments, need help writing a professional CV/resume or would like further information regarding your CV or resume, visit our forum or use the comment form below.

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