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The simple do's and don'ts that will give your CV the green light from hiring managers

The simple do’s and don’ts that will give your CV the green light from hiring managers

30 June 2020

by Stephanie Teece

Your CV is your ticket to getting you through that door and into an interview. Hiring managers will be reading through tons of CVs for just one role and they often don’t have the time or the resource to review every CV in detail.

On average hiring managers take approximately 6 seconds to decide whether you will be a fit for the role or not, so it’s paramount your grab their attention within a couple of seconds. Especially now more than ever where the competition for jobs is high.

So, how do you do this? The key is to understand that what you choose to leave off your CV is just as important as what you include.

Here are some important do’s and don’ts for CV writing that will help your application get the green light from hiring managers.


Highlight your Achievements

You want to be remembered for the right reasons. Make yourself stand out from the other, just as qualified applicants, by shouting out and highlighting your key achievements throughout your CV. However, pay attention to the achievements you choose to highlight. You want to focus on the achievements that are most relevant to the role in which you are applying for. These will then demonstrate your competency and ability to implement the skills they are looking for.

Support your achievements

Your CV needs to go beyond experience and qualifications. It needs to demonstrate that you are results driven and practical in your approach. In order to separate yourself from the competition you need to be able to provide examples of you implementing your skills; you can do this by quantifying your results e.g. don’t just put ‘introduced a new quality control system’, put ‘introduced a new quality control system saving the business £60k a year’.

Frequently update your CV

This may sound like the obvious thing to do, but you will be surprised at how many people don’t do this! Nothing creates a bad impression like an outdated CV. Remember this is your opportunity to demonstrate you’re competent and the very best person for the role. Review your CV on a regular basis, you never know when an opportunity could arise and you don’t want to be caught on the back foot.

Use the appropriate language for your level and job

There has never been a more important time to make sure your CV is tailored to every role you apply for. With so many CVs to read through, now more than ever employers will be looking out for the key words that are relevant to the job description. Make sure you reflect the skills and traits they are looking for throughout your CV. If you are applying for a senior role, use words like lead, create, develop, head and oversee when describing your current duties – you don’t want to undersell yourself and your experience through your choice of words.

Pay attention to the layout of your CV

First impressions are so important. Your CV should be clear, well-designed, easily digestible and polished. You can achieve this by making it as orderly as possible though logically outlining your experience and work history. You want to include experience that is relevant to the role in which you are applying for so be sure to highlight the most important aspects in the layout. Bullet points and tables are a great way of showcasing key skills or results, whilst also reducing the opportunity to waffle.


Be generic

Now is not the time to be generic – think what will make you stand out. You want to show that you are specialised within the skills, knowledge and experience they are looking for. This is where tailoring your CV to each job is paramount, however it’s easy to fall into the trap of sounding like everyone else. To combat this you want to provide examples of any key achievements, experiences or results to demonstrate how you have used your skills in a practical scenario.


Remember less is more! We have already heard how important it is to capture the attention of the hiring manager as quickly as possible. A wordy CV can be visually overwhelming and time-consuming to read, putting you instantly on the back foot, and is often the reason why your application doesn’t progress. There are 3 key things you want to get across in your CV: what your last couple of jobs were, your experience from these and how your skills fit with the position they need to fill. On average your CV should be no longer than 2 pages of A4, however of course there are always exceptions to this.

Include anything and everything

Be ruthless with the information you include. The key with writing your CV is to remember that what you choose to leave off your CV is just as important as what you include.Take off any irrelevant school grades, positions or experiences to ensure your skills and experience truly reflects the position you are applying for. Your CV needs to demonstrate your ambitions for the role and career path you are applying for and not a detailed background into your life. 

On Wednesday 15th July, 1pm (GMT) we will be hosting the next OJ webinar The global job climate – embracing the new dawn, where we will be delving into more tips and tricks on how you can ensure you job search is an unrivalled success. Secure your place here


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