The Do's & Don'ts of CV Writing

The Do's & Don'ts of CV Writing

CV presentation and content definitely has an influence on whether your CV is read or not, let alone land you an interview. Once you're CV had passed through the robots and ended up in front of a human being, that person’s psychological process for deciding whether to interview you is going to kick in. To stand the best chance of landing an interview I suggest you follow these golden rules.


  1. Include your position (who you are professionally) at the top of the CV.

  2. Include your position in the file name, ie. "Your Name - Project Manager"

  3. Construct your CV with your prospective role in mind. Make it easy for them to extract your relevant skillsets and conclude that you're a strong candidate.

  4. Use a clear, uncluttered and simple layout, without too many special effects. If you want to use bold text, bullet points and indentation feel free - but keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to make the CV a quick read.

  5. Use action verbs. when describing your work achievements use power words such as ‘launched’, ‘managed’, ‘coordinated’, ‘motivated’, ‘supervised’, “liaised” and ‘achieved’.

  6. Explain all significant breaks in your career or education.

  7. Place the important information on page 1.

  8. Put experience and education achievements in reverse chronological order starting with your current job and working backwards.

  9. Give a brief description of the companies that you worked for and your major achievements in bullet form.

  10. Utilise an early career section for jobs over 10 years old.

  11. Include experience and interests that might be of use to the employer: IT skills, voluntary work, foreign language competency, driving skills, leisure interests that demonstrate team skills and organisation/leadership skills.

  12. Include professional memberships.

  13. Put your tel and email address near the top of page 1.

  14. Include 2 or 3 recommendations on the final page, these can be copied off LinkedIn.

  15. Include a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile.


  1. Send a generic CV, make sure you tailor the CV to the job description and company culture.

  2. Include salary information and expectations. Leave this for negotiations after your interview.

  3. Include information which may be viewed negatively - failed exams, failed business ventures, reasons for leaving a job, points on your driving license. Don’t lie, but just don’t include this kind of information. Don’t give the interviewer any reason to discard you at this stage.

  4. Be tempted to shrink the font or reduce the margins to get more information in. Keep it legible! If you need to say more, use another page, but ask yourself if the extra detail really adds value.

  5. Include referees – just state they are available on request.

  6. Include all of the jobs you have had since school in detail, focus on the most recent jobs (10 years).

  7. Lie - employers have ways of checking what you put is true.

  8. Include a photo unless requested (US and Middle Eastern Countries like profile pictures, but this can be frowned upon in the UK)

Download the Bigger Fish CV Writing Guide

Lee Woodrow is a Personal & Business branding Coach and coaches contractors, senior job seekers & business owners and develops unique CV’s, LinkedIn profiles and websites that generate leads and open doors. He also designs graphics, banners and brochures that enable business owners and contractors to secure new customers.

Learn more about Lee and his cv writing services here:

#cvwriting #LeeWooodrow #BiggerFish #resume #ATS #ApplicantTrackingSystemCV

Recent Posts

See All