A CV will not get you a job, but it will get you an interview…

A key point about this process is that most people try and complete a CV and then think about how they will ‘sell’ themselves at interview, I believe that this is the wrong way around. You must be quite clear what you are ‘selling’ i.e. what you are going to ‘do’ for an organisation, before you can advertise it in a CV.

Taking this a step further, organisation pay people to ‘do’, your CV can be likened to evidence that you can ‘do’ that you and have delivered in the past, it must therefore focus on your achievements whilst projecting you into the future of an organisation – this cannot be done on paper alone but it demonstrates the synergy between CV and interview.


A CV is a sales pitch of your achievements and the value add you bring; profile (3rd person, present tense no pronouns) and (8) key strengths (3rd person, past tense no pronouns) are important. To a Recruitment consultant Education and achievements are key.

I would recommend the following structure – Profile, Key Strengths, Education/Qualifications, followed by either Reserve Chronological or Functional layout, finishing with Interests. Ensuring you know what goes in each bit is one of the keys to understanding a CV.

Ensure that the person at the top (profile) and bottom (Interests) are the same?

When it comes to format options, there is no hard and fast rule, however a general guide is to use a functional layout for a change in sector and reverse chronological to change within sector.

Ensure you use action words not weasel words (CTW handbook page 109).

Keep it concise – 2 pages, with no errors or spelling mistakes.

Other Selling Products

As well your CV there are some other products that will help you sell yourself. A decent quality business card is vital (name, mobile and e-mail details only). A one page profile is very useful for networking.

Posted on 26th March 2013

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