Your CV is the one part of the recruitment process that is entirely in your control. Get it right and you significantly increase your chances of being selected for interview. Get it wrong and you run the risk of your application being overlooked, generally recruiters glance over CV’s and make decision within 60 seconds of whether they will call the applicant or not.  If they do not see anything unique or different your CV you could be ignored. So how can you make sure that your CV isn’t over looked? And include everything you need to mention?

The main thing to remember when writing your CV is that it is the only thing recruiters or potential employers can use to make a judgment of yourself at the beginning.  You need to make sure your CV stands out for all the right reasons and is something that you think potential employers would be engaged by.

Section 1 – Format and Layout

No CV should be more than three sides of A4. It should be a synopsis of your suitability for the role in question, not a full itemisation of your career history – and it’s presentation speaks volumes about your communication skills. Make it as concise and compelling as possible, starting with the header. Save space elsewhere by putting your personal and contact details here and leaving out extraneous details such as date of birth, marital status or any photos. Have sections to break up your CV such as; Personal Statement, Qualifications, Previous Employment and References. By doing this you are refraining from telling a continuous story of your career history, and you are only telling the ‘highlights’ of each sections, keep each section short and concise, the chances are they will only be skim reading your CV as they would rather discuss your history in person.

Section 2 – Personal Statement

Your CV is the only way to sell yourself until they can meet you in person. Open your pitch with your personal profile – a short paragraph that captures your key skills and career aspirations. This needs to be brief; you want to capture their interest, enough for them to want to see you in person where you can sell yourself in depth. Always leave the reader wanting more!

Section 3 – Career History

Give this section the attention it deserves, do not sell yourself short on any of your achievements, this is the part of the CV where employers and recruiters pay the most attention, and will be thinking ‘how can your previous skills and achievements be adapted to our company?’

List your jobs in reverse order, starting with the most recent and giving basic details for each: company name; dates; job title. Write a quick summary of the role, followed by bullet points of your job role and key achievements. If you have had numerous jobs avoid listing them all, only select the most current as this is more likely to be relevant.

Section 4 – Qualifications

List your degree, professional qualifications and relevant technology certifications in reverse chronological order. There’s no need to list every single technology that you have used within your previous employment or education; this can waste precious space within your CV and is something that a lot of employers could view as insignificant. Only mention the ones that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, as this will be the only thing they will be looking for.

CV Dos and Don’ts


  • Consider using the sections to break it up
  • Keep it concise – realistically, you only have 60 seconds to make an impression!
  • Keep it simple and easy to read
  • Organise it well – keep sentences short and use bullet points
  • Make it relevant
  • Use facts not opinions to describe your achievements
  • Explain any gaps in your work history, this will help with any uncertainty from your recruiter or employer, it is best to address these issues first before they approach you
  • Be honest and accurate – never lie on your CV, this will be picked up by your employer/ recruiter when verifying your information.
  • Read over your CV before you send it, may sound obvious but any small mistake could affect your chances of being called.


  • Go over three sides of A4
  • Don’t lie on your CV, you will be caught out eventually
  • Include photos or pictures
  • Over-complicate things – with so little time to make an impression, its much better to keep things concise.
  • Repeat yourself
  • Use the word ‘I’ any more than is necessary – you’d be surprised how easily a single letter can dominate a document
  • Make your career summary read like a series of job descriptions – keep the focus on your achievements within each role
  • Understate your case – this is the place to take full credit for your achievements
  • Submit your CV until you are 100% convinced it doesn’t contain any spelling or grammar errors



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UK based recruitment agency, Finsbury Education, igniting the careers of teachers, lecturers, leaders and education support staff. If you are looking for your next career move, contact us to find out how we can help.