The do’s and don’ts of writing a good CV

Wednesday 17. 2018

Your CV is a foot in the door to your dream job, so you have to get it right. Your CV is basically the professional you, in paper format. A shoddy job when writing one has the potential to speak volumes about you as not only a candidate, but a person too.

A CV, therefore, is something you’re going to want to spend quality time on. TMI Resourcing are ever the advocates of providing a helping hand. So, fear not, because CV-writing doesn’t have to be a daunting task. We’ve compiled all the do’s and don’ts for you below.

DO boast about your skills

In case you hadn’t heard, your CV is the perfect opportunity for a bit of self promotion and, ahem, maybe even a little boasting.

You want really to show yourself off to a potential employer. The best way to do this is to showcase your skill sets. We recommend putting them near the very top of the page to really jump out to an employer. The trick is to never be too modest with your CV. It may very well be the ticket to your new job so you want to make sure you put your best front forward.

TMI top tip: if you’re fortunate enough to be multi-talented and are exploring your opportunities, make sure you adjust your list of skills so they are applicable to the job you are applying for. Being an exquisite cake baker (for example) is great, but if you’re applying for a job in accountancy it may be better to leave those skills out.

DO be bold and daring

If employers are flicking through countless CVs, it’s obvious that they’re only really going to take notice of the ones that stand out. We’d recommend being a little creative with your CV. Okay, we’re not talking going ‘all out’ per se with a yellow background with a purple font and all in comic sans. Using a template with just a subtle splash of colour has the potential to go a long way.

Also, it’s heavily debated but we believe a picture belongs on a CV. It makes the document all the more personal. And once again, a picture helps a CV stand out amongst a mass of white-paper-black-text copies.

DO list your experiences

‘Does it belong on my CV?’ If this is a question you’re asking yourself, the answer is more often than not: yes!

Experience can give you an edge as a candidate, so if you think that is applicable to what you’re applying for then why not? If you’ve been backpacking, say, around some cultural countries and have maybe even done some voluntary work when over there then why wouldn’t you include that? It certainly shows character. And, who knows, you may have even picked up some skills that would make you the perfect candidate for the position at hand.

It goes without saying but your CV should also include all of your education information and past work experiences. Your older jobs probably don’t need a description, but employers still like to see how many jobs you have worked and how long you have been working. This also lets them identify any gaps in employment. You may be asked to explain these.

There normally isn’t a need to list every educational qualification that you have either. For your GCSE’s, “10 A*’s-B’s including Maths, Science and English” is usually sufficient enough. For your A-Levels, degrees and other qualifications, another simple sentence instating what you studied and your grades would be great.

TMI top tip: your education and experience should typically be listed in reverse chronological order.

DO be selective

Okay, this seems a little hypocritical seeing we just said to include lots of experiences. But, the really important thing to remember when writing your CV is to be selective. Only include what you think belongs on their.

The golden rule is only include things you deem to be really necessary. To put it bluntly, if you go in to deep description about everything you’ve done in your life – employers are going to get very bored very quickly. This can seriously damage your chances of securing a job.

DON’T go over 2 pages

Most would say 1 page, but we like to be realistic.

2 pages (we find) is the perfect amount to include everything relevant to an employer, without being overbearing. Employers like a short and snappy CV which tells them everything they need to know in the shortest time possible. If they’re having to flick through page after page then your CV is oh-so subjectable to landing itself in the reject pile without any real consideration.

TMI top tip: if you’re handing in a CV in, in person, we’d recommend printing it double sided. That way, it’s effectively ‘1 page’ but has all the information on it you need to really sell yourself to an employer (no, that’s not cheating).

DON’T forget to spell check

Typos are the worst and even the best of us are guilty of making 1 or 2 errors from time to time (or 3 or 4…). However, in your CV there is absolutely no wiggle room for grammatical errors. They can’t be retraced and can seriously damage how you present yourself through your CV.

Not only do errors hinder what you’re trying to get across, but they also make you look sloppy. Many employers encase the mindset of ‘are they going to be the best fit for this job if they can’t even take the time to proof read their CV?’ We know accidents happen, but this is the kind of accident you really want to avoid.

TMI top tip: if you only proofread yourself, more often than not you can miss something. We’d always recommend getting somebody else to have a read over your finished CV. 


Do you think you’re CV-ready? It’s time to start your recruitment journey. Get in touch with TMI Resourcing today and we’ll provide assistance to find your dream job.