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Your CV is an extension of your business card.  It should not be War & Peace.  Keep it robust, complete, clean and concise, no bullSh$t.  Maintain some mystery and pique the reader’s interest!  Remember that the object of the exercise is to secure a meeting / interview.  These days it is expected that you will tailor your CV to the specific role so don’t be lazy and do give it some focus.  Use the USP, in particular, for this exercise.  Highlight the hard/soft skills that you can bring to the role/organisation.

Quick tips

2 pages max. Period! (The reader is likely to give your CV a 10 second scan and begin to formulate a decision.  Recruiters often read 100-200 CV’s per day)

Highlight your name in big bold font (Font size 11 for body copy / 16-20 for your name)

Be careful about inserting photos, fancy fonts, funky layouts or crazy colours     (Excuse for Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS) / Bots / HR to screen you out!)

No addresses, dates of birth etc. (Again, screen out avoidance)

  • Email and mobile on footer. (Pages become separated!) (No Nicknames –
  • Key word rich for ATS/HR hurdles   (Hard skills / Soft skills – Strategic Planning, Brand planning, People Management / Communication, Adaptability, Empathy)
  • Dates etc. all linking, no gaps.
  • Typo’s (Absolutely no excuses – Have three people read it)
  • Make sure everything tallies with other profiles you have ie. Linkedin, FB et al
  • Main body of CV
  • USP – (10 second elevator pitch – this is your opportunity to grab the reader’s attention and provide an overview of the skills, experience and personality you have for the role)
  • Work experience in chronological order   (This is what I did / this is how successful I was doing it – be careful about claiming to have single-handedly doubled the turnover of a fortune fifty corporate! )
  • Education (A Masters does not require you to also list your leaving cert results – It does what it says on the tin!)
  • Hobbies/interests (Show you are human.  This is also a great way to demonstrate that you are a team player, contributor, with a strong work ethic)
  • No need to state that ‘Refs are available on request’  (That’s presumed!)


Have three people look over the finished article, a grammar whizz, a recruiter/HR person and an executive leader/Hiring manager.

Finally, make sure your polished CV is reflected in your Linkedin and other profiles (Your company about us page?!?).  It will be checked!

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