Stand out from the crowd: CV writing tips

I calculated recently that I have reviewed in excess of 200000 CV’s during my career in recruitment. Some of the most memorable are for the wrong reasons . . . terrible layout, spelling mistakes, too long, too short, unprofessional email address, too much information about family and hobbies, the list goes on. Obviously, a lot of those applicants didn’t get a phone call to discuss the vacancy.

So, I thought my followers would like to know what I am looking for in a CV. Yesterday alone, I reviewed over 200 CV’s, for 3 different vacancies. I work for our clients to find candidates that best match their role; so when I am reviewing CV’s, I am looking to see evidence of your ability to do the job.

Here are a couple of key facts:

  • You only get 1 chance for a first impression
  • It is said that a recruiter spends 6 seconds looking at a CV before making judgement
  • 80% of CV’s with unprofessional email address as disregarded
  • 85% are disregarded if you included an unprofessional photo
  • 80% of a recruiters time is spent looking at you name, current role, job title and company

For me, any with multiple spelling and grammar mistakes are disregarded.

So, how do you ensure your CV is noticed for the right reasons? 

Simply, don’t tell me things I don’t need to know. Be professional, don’t over complicate the formatting, don’t make spelling mistakes, don’t use an inappropriate email address.

Consider what we are looking for on your CV, and make it easy to find.

 What I look for on your CV:

  • What was your most recent role?
  • What is your overall experience?
  • What transferable skills do you have for this role?
  • Have you used the same computer systems, or similar?
  • Tenure in your roles – reasons for leaving
  • Evidence of performance/achievements
  • Examples of projects or duties
  • I like a summary that tells me about you as an employee

 My top CV writing Tips!

Think of your audience when you are writing it!

  1. Consider who will be reading it – will it be a recruiter, a HR professional, the hiring manager, the receptionist, or a computer? Ensure it is written appropriately for your audience.
  2. Tailor your CV to show that your skills and experience are relevant to the role you are applying for. Also, ensure your most recent role is first.
  3. Address the selection criteria – if they ask for a cover letter, write one; if they want your CV to fit on 2 pages, do it; if they ask you to apply online, do it.
  4. Only include relevant experience for the role – I don’t need to know that you play under 8’s rugby league in 1984. Also, if you have more than 10 years experience in a role, consider if you need to include all roles on your CV – how transferable are those skills from 1997, before we had all the technology we now have?
  5. Please only apply for roles you are genuinely interested in, and can do. A sandwich artist applying for a senior accountant role is remembered for all the wrong reasons – and you are wasting the recruiters time (that isn’t nice).


I appreciate all Shares | Likes | Comments – the more engagement I get, the more I will write . . .


About Me:

I am a passionate recruitment leader, based in Brisbane. I love to help clients find the right person for their organisation, and help candidates find the ‘best fit’ for them.

I am mum to a threenager; and I understand the battle to find work/life balance. I call a spade a spade, and I’m a huge Rugby League fan.

I believe in Results Orientated Working Environments, equal pay for equal work, and the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality.

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