Resume/CV writing

Your CV needs to do enough to get you an interview, not tell your entire life story. Think about what you would want to see if you were the employer and try and assess your CV against that.


For UK roles

  • 2-3 pages maximum
  • Choose a clear and simple layout using a font that is easy to read on screen such as Arial or other sans serif fonts. However much you want to squeeze text in don't go below 10pts. Justify your text.
  • Use bullets rather than lengthy narrative. This helps when your CV is being quickly scanned.
  • Ensure your most recent or relevant role is on the first page
  • Include contact details and make sure you have voicemail set up for the numbers you provide
  • Check for spelling and typo's, that dates are correct and is up to date
  • Highlight your relevance to the role first - either through a personal summary, skills list or evidence of successes. This should be followed with your career history, explain gaps or no relevant work very briefly, Education and if you have space personal interests. Do not include date of birth, marital status, details of dependants or referees - none are needed.
  • Sample CV formats


We recommend having two versions of your CV - one just for you which includes everything you may want to put on a CV at some point: training courses, achievements, duties etc. The other version is the one which you actually want to submit to a role. This needs to be specific and targeted. Try to give context or meaning to your achievements - e.g. increased our impact factor to ... through....; grew sales from £2m per year to £20m per year and be prepare to explain how you did that in an interview or in your cover letter if important for the role you are applying for.

Make sure your CV is not just a list of duties. Your job description may be a starting point for your CV but you need to make sure you focus more on your achievements in role to stand out from other candidates. Think about responsibilities rather than lists of duties, help the reader get a sense of the size of your role if it will help you get the role e.g. size of teams you have managed, budgetary responsibility, reporting levels.

Language used should be active and to the point. As an example instead of stating 'was responsible for' trying use an active verb such as accomplished, discovered, achieved. Avoid generic cliches without any evidence to back them up. People will read them but not pay any attention - e.g. I am a good communicator. If you change this to something like: 'Created new channels of communication for the whole organisation ensuring greater visibility of the board of directors' it suddenly becomes interesting.

Again unless particularly pertinent to the role keep your academic details and results brief.

Key words are important - remember your CV may be being assessed by a recruiter or HR person who is not an expert in your field. They need to understand that you meet the criteria so reflecting the terminology in the advert or job specification is important. Having the right key words and acronyms can also help you to be found by recruiters actively searching for candidates for roles.



  • Do your research: talk to people you know that work for the organisation; research the organisation; find out what you can about your interviewers - look at their linkedin profiles and how their careers have progressed.
  • Understand what the selection process will be and prepare accordingly. Read the job description throughly - developing interview questions is not rocket science, you should be able to predict them from the job description! Questions are never deliberately difficult - the interviewers just want to seek evidence of your capability.
  • Competency based questions are looking for evidence of past behaviour - these are questions such as 'tell me about a time when...', 'Give me an example of when you...' Prepare answers in advance for some of the competencies required in the role. Use the 'Share model' to develop your answers (Situation, Hinderances, Actions, Results, Evaluation).
  • Make sure you have questions prepared for the interviewers. No questions demonstrates a complete lack of interest. These should be about the business, career potential, why the interviewers enjoy working there etc - not about benefits, working hours (talk to the recruiter about these).

The interview

  • Make sure you are on time, ensure you have contact details if you do experience truly disastrous traffic! Phone and ensure you apologise profusely if late!
  • Dress smartly - even if you know their employees wear jeans to work be smarter. Do all you can for the interviewers to form a positive impression of you initially.
  • Consider your body language and also pay attention to the interviewers body language. Ensure you engage eye contact with all your interviewers and can demonstrate that you are listening well to them. Look for signs that you may be talking too much... interviewers shuffling through their next questions and no longer making notes is a sure-fire sign!
  • Listen to the questions - identify key words to get the best examples they have got. If they ask for one example, don't offer 5. With less experienced interviewers this can be to your detriment as they may not get through the questions in time meaning you don't have opportunity to show your rounded experience for the role.
  • Don't be scared of asking for clarification if you are unsure of what is being asked.
  • Make sure you don't make any negative comments about your past roles, team members of employers. This is always a red flag for interviewers.
  • Make sure you take the opportunity to find out as much as you can. The interview is for you to find out if you want to work there as much as whether they want you.