Did you know that you have as little as 10 seconds to impress a prospective employer with your CV? No matter how talented and qualified you might be or how suited to the job if your resume and covering letter fails to catch their eye you will be heading for the bottom of the pile.

Interestingly, even though it is easy to find advice or use the many opportunities there are to buy in professional CV writing help, if you run a job advert at least half – usually more – of the CVs sent in will be poor. Why is the message not getting through? It would seem to be sensible if you really want that job to spend time on making sure you stand a chance of getting through the first hurdle of having your CV taken seriously. Yet time and time again CVs arrive that waffle on for pages and pages without telling you what you need to know; won’t come through on email properly; are a celebration of the person’s ability to use complex formatting but don’t tell you what they did for their last job and so on.

The same faults appear whatever level of job being applied for. It is no good reading this and saying ‘I’m a lawyer/teacher/accountant and I know what I am doing; they aren’t writing about me,’ because this simply isn’t true. Poor CVs abound in all industry sectors.

What makes a good CV?

So, what is it that makes for a good CV, one that will stand out from another? We need to set about identifying the issues, and here are some. If we start with the basics, there are rules that govern the layouts, size and content, all of which are readily picked up from CV writing websites, and include the following:


  • Be neat. It should be pleasing to the eye, in good condition (no recycling or poor photocopies allowed) and well laid out.
  • Make it clear – It should be easy to find your way around.
  • Include the usual facts about yourself such as date of birth (no point hiding your age whatever the reason – it will just be an irritant), address, education, email address (this is very necessary as you just look a bit sad if you don’t have one!) and, most importantly, work experience.
  • Be positive and sell yourself.
  • Be short and to the point – try and have all the important information on the first two sides of an A4 sheet. You can then email it with ease.
  • Help recruitment agents (they will cut & paste your CV, accept that fact and help them) by not using headers & footers, giving your document a name that helps them store and recover your CV.
  • Adapt it to suit the job you are applying for – one size does not fit all.


  • Do not include any failures – be positive and don’t say why you left jobs or that your marriage broke down etc.
  • Do not typewrite it as you will look as though you live in the dark ages. Always use a computer.
  • Do not use photographs (there are a few exceptions).
  • Do not include everything you have ever done – the qualification you got for swimming a length of the pool when you were six is not going to be relevant.
  • Do not make things up or exaggerate.
  • Avoid complex formatting, patterns and covers.
  • Avoid using CV templates.

Use these guidelines and your Curriculum Vitae will certainly be a lot better than most, but how do you take it that little bit further? If, as is the case, you have such a short time to get the prospective employer to have a serious look at you, how do you make sure that your CV stands out? Why not consider using a CV writing service – as far as investments in your future career go, having some professional help writing your CV can go a long way.