Create a Killer Resume and Cover Letter

CV Creation: Essential Do’s and Don’ts for a Winning CV

Table of Contents  
  1. Overview
  2. Do’s
  3. Don’ts

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Investing time in creating a well-crafted CV can significantly boost your employability, whether you’re applying for high-profile jobs or fresh out of university. A clear and concise CV that highlights your achievements and professional identity is crucial in landing your dream job. Here are some essential do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while creating your CV.


  • Do Customize Your CV: Tailor your CV to the job description to highlight relevant skills and experiences. This shows employers that you’re attentive and seriously interested in the position.
  • Do Use Active Verbs: Energize your CV with action verbs like “achieved”, “managed”, and “created” to convey your accomplishments effectively and forcefully.
  • Do Include Quantifiable Achievements: Where possible, add numbers to your achievements. For example, “increased sales by 20%” is more impactful than “responsible for increasing sales”.
  • Do Keep It Concise: Limit your CV to two pages at most. A concise CV shows that you can prioritize information and that you respect the hiring manager’s time.
  • Do Proofread: Spelling or grammatical errors can make a bad impression. Use tools like Grammarly, or get someone else to proofread your CV before submission.
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  • Don’t Use a Generic CV: Avoid sending the same CV to multiple employers. A generic CV can make you come off as uninterested and lazy.
  • Don’t Include Irrelevant Information: Do not clutter your CV with information not relevant to the job. This dilutes your key messages and wastes valuable space.
  • Don’t Lie About Your Skills or Experiences: Honesty is crucial in your CV. False information can be easily verified by employers and can lead to job dismissal if discovered.
  • Don’t Use an Unprofessional Email Address: If your email address is unprofessional, create a new one for job applications. An email address like [email protected] makes a better impression.
  • Don’t Forget to Include Keywords: Many companies use software to screen CVs. Make sure to include keywords from the job description to ensure your CV passes the initial screenings.
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Keep Things Simple

A well-designed CV is crucial in making a positive impression on potential employers. The design and layout of your CV should be simple and focused, making it easy for the reader to navigate through the document. Avoid using fancy fonts or incorporating images that may not appear correctly when printed or viewed on a different device. The key is to keep it clean, professional, and relevant to the job you are applying for. Be selective with the information you include in your CV and eliminate anything that is not essential to the job or industry you are targeting.

This might involve trimming old or irrelevant work experiences, part-time or temporary jobs, and irrelevant hobbies or interests. Focus on highlighting the achievements and experiences that are relevant to the job and company you are applying for. Don’t forget to tailor your CV for each job application and highlight the skills and experience that are specifically mentioned in the job posting. A well-crafted CV can be the difference between getting your foot in the door and missing out on an opportunity.

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Explain Skills Gained From Particular Jobs

Ideally, when listing a job or training course, it’s beneficial to include notes on the skills and experiences acquired during their completion. Additionally, it’s essential to explain your responsibilities in these roles, as well as any gained experience in using specific software or receiving in-job training.

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Tailor to Specific Jobs

To increase your chances of landing a job, it’s crucial to understand what to highlight in your CV based on the job you’re applying for. For instance, when applying for a charity job, it’s beneficial to elaborate on your voluntary experience and skills that can be applied to a professional role. Additionally, you should be able to adapt your past job experiences to showcase how they are transferable to the new position.


Avoid Spelling and Grammar Errors

A few errors in presentation and style will ultimately lead to someone dropping your CV in favor of another, despite your qualifications. This problem can be avoided through proofreading, and by making sure that you always have enough time before a submission date to get someone else to read through your work.

Use spellcheck and tools such as Grammarly to ensure all errors are captured and corrected.  Leverage your friends and family to check your CV and give suggestions.

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Distort Jobs

Don’t make it out that you had more responsibilities, or gained more skills, in certain jobs. The truth will eventually catch up with you and will lead to problems with employers. In the same way, don’t distort your qualifications, even if it’s only by a grade or so. Again, the punishment by an employer can be severe.

Skip Important Information

It’s crucial to include any relevant information in your CV, especially if it’s on the lighter side. As long as you can explain the significance of the experience or accomplishment and how it can benefit a new job, it can significantly enhance your CV‘s overall impression.

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