Top 10 Tips For CV Success

Your CV is arguably the most important element of any job application. Get it right every time with our top 10 tips for success.

Think of your CV as an advertisement that attracts attention and sparks interest in the product, which in this instance is you! Of course, you still need to convert that interest into a sale – or in this case a job offer – but it’s your CV that brings you to the attention of a prospective employer. These two sheets of paper will place you into one of three piles on a hirer’s desk: ‘Must interview’, ‘Maybe’, and ‘No’. Follow these 10 tips to make sure you’re a ‘Must interview’ candidate when you want to take your career to the next level, whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience.


1) Start With A Summary

Recruiters spend an average of only 20 seconds reviewing your resume, so put your best foot forward. Serve them everything on a platter that’s easy to digest with a 100-word summary of your experience, results and qualifications. This is the appetizer that whets the appetite for the main course – the remainder of your CV.

Recruitment, CV, Bristol, Construction, Jobsearch


2) Play To Your Strengths

Shape the structure of your CV to work for the stage your career is at. If you have years of experience, then lead with that. List your positions starting with the most recent and end with your qualifications. But if you’re a graduate, then open with your academic achievements and the quality of training you received.


3) Less Is More

Your CV should fill no more than two sides of A4; three if you have a lot of positions to cover. This isn’t the time to go into everything in detail up front; that’s what an interview is for. Space means value on a CV, so spend more time talking about things that are directly related to the position you’re applying for because that’s what a recruiter is interested in.


4) Tailor Your CV

If your CV doesn’t deliberately target the job you’re applying for, then you won’t get the job. Pick out the key requirements from the job ad, then address each of them on your CV. A hirer isn’t interested in everything you’ve done, but they ARE interested in what you’ve done that means you’ll be good in the job they need you to do.

Recruitment, Construction, Bristol


5) Speak English

This is not the time for corporate-speak. It’s off-putting and also takes more words to say the same thing. Not only are recruiters are blind to buzzword bingo, but it also blinds them to the rest of your message. Instead, explain in human terms how you believe you could contribute to the business.


6) Be Specific And Prioritise

Anybody can say they’re good at what they do, but ‘Must interview’ candidates can demonstrate that in cold, hard facts. Don’t list every achievement, but where you can show an example of a time when you helped a present or previous employer to meet the same kind of targets that are expected of the position you’re applying for, do it. Include specific projects, dates and specific results for maximum effect.


7) Relevant And Recent

Figure out what’s relevant to the position you’re applying for that you’ve achieved in the last five years or so and focus on that. Historical achievements are great, but proving that you’re still hitting the mark is gold.



8) It’s All In The Presentation

Present your CV as you would present yourself at interview; clean and professional. Use a legible font and avoid quirky design elements that might get you attention for all the wrong reasons. If your CV is hard to read, then recruiters just won’t. And Comic Sans? Just no.


9) Check It!

When you think you’re done with your CV, read it again. Preferably aloud. Even better, get someone else to read it. Take the time to fix every single typo, grammatical error or confusing phrase. You want to make your CV as easy to read as it can be because recruiters are busy and short of time. Don’t make them work harder than they need to understand what you can offer in the role.


10) Talk To The Professionals

Who sees more CV’s than the head of HR? A recruitment agency. They can spot a stinker a mile off – and help you turn it into a winner! If you’re looking to make your next career move, Kingston Barnes will invest their time to understand your requirements and give you every chance of landing in the ‘Must interview’ pile. Get in touch today to find out how we can help on 0117 325 2233 or email us at

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