What Makes a Good CV? 15 Tips from the GFP Team

This week in the office we’ve been debating what makes a good CV. CVs are extremely personal in my opinion, and no two people will give you quite the same advice, but here are 15 top tips that we all agreed on:

Look & feel

  • Make it easy on the eye – Use a standard font size (10pt or 12pt), clear, logical headings and make sure there’s enough white space.
  • Don’t be too fancy with the formatting – A splash of colour can be great, but text boxes and tables are distracting and are also hard for CV parsing programs (basically technology which extracts information from your CV and put straight onto a database) to work with.
  • Bullet point – Bullet points are great, but don’t over-do them. Unless you want your reader to go cross-eyed, of course…
  • Keep it to two pages – If you really can’t then limit it to three at the very most!

What to include

  • Numbers! –  Quantify wherever possible – how many staff you managed, the value of the projects you’ve worked on, budgets you have controlled, and so on.
  • Your key achievements – Anything between four and six is great – put them front and centre on your CV so that prospective employers can see how great you are! It also provides a reflection of what you consider to be important and can be quite telling.
  • Online references – If (IF!) appropriate, link to any online references. Maybe you write an industry-specific blog or have a raft of recommendations on LinkedIn that you’d like to show off. They won’t always be looked at, but can be worth considering.
  • Relevant experience – Highlight the experience you have relevant to the job for which you are applying.

What not to include

  • Irrelevant information – This might include marital status, DoB, the names, ages and number of children you have, etc. (You’d be surprised how many people want to tell us all about their family rather than themselves!)
  • A photo of yourself – Unless you’re a model or actor there’s really no need!
  • Your ENTIRE work history – If you’ve been in work for many years then don’t try and cover everything. Focus on the last 10 years or so and summarise the rest.

Other things to consider

  • Reverse chronological order – I’m sure we don’t have to say it, but ALWAYS start with your most recent experience first.
  • Be concise – It’s a summary of your experience, not War and Peace.
  • File format – Ideally send it in Word format (PDF can also be acceptable, but be prepared to hand over a Word copy too if asked)
  • Proof reading – Read it, re-read it and then read it again. After you’ve done that, give it to someone else to read! It’s amazing what you miss when you’ve worked intensely on something.

And finally – make sure you’re happy with it! It’s a reflection of you, after all!


1 Response to “What Makes a Good CV? 15 Tips from the GFP Team”

  1. 1 2010 in review « Derek Mynott's Blog Trackback on January 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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