7 Top Tips for a Great CV

26 Feb 2019
By Madeline Luck

I have seen literally thousands of resumes during my career in HR and recruitment. Your resume is the first impression and your chance to get noticed. It’s important to get it right and unfortunately, so many people get it oh so wrong.

Over the past ten years, I have assisted hundreds of people in my network, from tradies to CEO’s, in putting together a professional and quality Resume that captures the attention of their prospective employer, recruiter or internal HR.

Through my experience, these are my seven top tips for writing a great CV:

Get to the point immediately…

Consider a short, all-encompassing but brief summary on the first page of CV. This should clearly and concisely state your objective, qualifications, board affiliations, charity/social affiliations, highly relevant skills and a chronological list of your recent work history.

This section should be formatted cleanly so that the reader can get an idea of who you are and what you have done at a glance and want to read on!

A more detailed summary of skills, strengths and work history should follow.

Focus on impact…

People are more interested in what you have achieved, than reading your position description.

Focus on impact! How did you make money, save money, solve issues, develop people, find or create opportunities?

If you are trying to move out of an operational role and into something more strategic or high level, ease off the really gritty operational and technical information. Recruiters and Hiring Managers will be interested in

  • Major Projects – focus on $ value, milestones, achievements
  • Strategic and leadership achievements
  • Financial and commercial achievements - Tenders/merger/acquisitions
  • Your team – who reported to you, did you build the team etc.
  • Innovations
  • Awards and Recognition
  • Stakeholder management/corporate & government relations
  • Corporate social responsibility 

Avoid lengthy paragraphs…

I hate to break it you, but all that effort you put into writing paragraph after paragraph in your CV was a waste of time. A brief summary for each role followed by sharp, punchy and concise dot points are the way to go.

Remember that a lot of the time, your CV is being vetted by Recruiters or internal HR, and they will be looking for pieces of information that correlate with the available role – they won't find this hidden in wordy *yawn* paragraphs.

Don’t dwell too much on the past…

Anything prior to your last four roles doesn't need detailed expansion. Whilst the reader wants to see your history and where you have come from, they don’t want to (and won't) read through 20 pages of experience – they want to read the information relevant to their organisation and the available role.

Tailor to the role & Organisation…

If you are applying for a specific role, make sure you format your CV to highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant. You might want to outline particular projects, achievements or software experience on the front page to draw attention and encourage the reader to want to learn more. If you know the company values, you might want to include achievements or extracurricular activities that reflect how you also live those values.

Get the format right…

There is no need for fancy borders and trimmings. Bold headings, short paragraphs and dot points are the way to go. Font size 11 in Arial is easy to read and looks sleek and professional. Word provides some great free templates that i recommend using. Also, no need for a photo.

No need for a birth date...

Your age isn't a prerequisite, so no need to mention it.

I hope this information helps. If you would like help with your job search please get in touch.

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