CV Writing Tips For Candidates

 CV writing tips for candidates

Having worked in the recruitment industry for nearly 30 years between us, we must have read (or at least glanced at) tens of thousands of CVs. Some were good, and there was that excited feeling after the first few seconds that we might actually have found “the one” for our clients. Some on the other hand were very bad, and while we might have missed a trick and passed over the perfect candidate on occasion, poor CVs generally end up at the bottom of the pile so we can move on and look at the next CV.

You see the thing is, if a recruiter (whether they be from a recruitment agency or internal recruitment team) doesn’t like a CV, or can’t see how the applicant would fit the role in the first few seconds, then the likelihood of them persevering and reading through 3 sides of A4 to find out more is slim. Having a good CV is therefor critical to achieving your career aspirations.

Now my opinion is only one of many, and recently I have seen recruiters (and a number of CV writers) posting on social and professional sites that CVs need a shake-up. They say that most CVs are dull, and that they should have colour, quirky fonts and funky designs to grab the recruiter’s attention. They even suggest that self-imposed grades for showing what your best skills are a good idea.

Please don’t be fooled! While they might be good for artistic or design positions, in general, they simply confuse the recruiter who has to scan multiple columns and boxes to find the simplest of information.

Think of it this way; sending your CV is the first part of the application process, and can essentially be seen as being the first (blind) interview stage. You wouldn’t turn up for an interview wearing a multi-colour suit, with a henna tattoo on your face to make yourself look interesting, would you? No, because it would distract from the fact that you are qualified and capable of doing the job.

For the majority of vacancies, CVs need to do one thing and one thing only. That is to show, in as short a time as possible that you are capable of carrying out the role for which you are applying. If you do this effectively, it is likely that you will get the opportunity to show your personality off in the interview.

We are here to help, so if you would like a chat about your CV or how we can help you in yourjob search please feel free to contact us. Since opening for business in January 2017, The Burford Recruitment Company have a CV to interview hit rate of over 80% so we must be doing something right!

Alternatively try the following tips when writing your CV and remember, the first few seconds really do count!

Below are our top 5 CV writing tips:

    1. Read the advert properly…twice! Make sure you know what you are applying for, and don’t apply based on the title of the advert. Different companies use different titles. Remember no two jobs are the same. Marketing Assistant and Digital Marketing Assistant can be wildly different jobs!


    1. Tailor your CV to each application – If you are applying for a Sales Administrator position but your summary says you are passionate about business development you are less likely to get an interview


    1. Order it correctly – Generally a one or two paragraph personal summary followed by key skills, relevant employment history, relevant education / qualifications, and finally everything else is the way to go


    1. Use bullet points – These allow you to get over the main areas of each of your previous Jobs without waffling or diluting the key points (again highlight things from your previous jobs that relate to the job you are applying for)


    1. Use spell check! – (No explanation needed)

We think that applying these golden rules will help you get an interview and maybe even help get the job of your dreams. Good luck in your search!


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