How to write a killer CV

Career expert at TopCV Amanda Augustine explains how you can create a killer CV

29 Sep, 20

Career expert at TopCV Amanda Augustine explains how you can create a killer CV


The correct length

Let’s start with the basics – make sure your CV is not too long. Short and sweet is key. One page can work well for those just starting out in their careers or who have spent a long time in one role, and three pages are just about acceptable for senior executives or contractors. But any more than this and your CV is in danger of ending up in the bin.

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Recruiters only spend minutes reading through CVs so make sure you don’t bore them with the minutiae of your working life. Instead, grab their attention straight away with an impactful personal statement. Don’t think about what you want from an employer but rather what you can offer them.

In four or five sentences, you need to state exactly what you do and be explicit about the value you can add to their business. Such as, if you have a track record of reducing costs or increasing sales.

The right look

Go easy on the layout – nothing too crazy. When you want to stand out, quirky layouts and graphics won’t do you any favours if your CV is scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS), which can reduce such CVs to garbled nonsense once scanned. Go for smart and professional – unless you are in the creative industry, then, by all means, show them what you got.

Specific not generic

The next point I can’t stress enough – a killer CV is always written with a particular role in mind. While it is tempting to do a copy and paste job to save some time when applying for a lot of positions – it shows, and you might as well not have bothered.

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ CV is likely to be weak and unfocussed. Instead, identify exactly what role suits you and use your consultations to find some job adverts for the type of job you’ve decided to target. The wording of the adverts can be used to focus your CV on the hard and soft skills and experiences relevant to those types of roles.

Show off achievements

And lastly, don’t be shy to show off your achievements – this is what sets you apart from the competition. Aside from listing your work experience, education and qualifications, make sure you clearly demonstrate if you’ve worked on anything beyond the normal remit of your job. Then pull together any facts and figures that back up your claims so that you can provide concrete evidence of your success.