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A List of Dos and Don’ts to Create a Killer CV

After the cover letter, your CV is incredibly important to set you apart from the rest of the job applicants. While we all know and understand this, there are still many simple mistakes that people make when putting theirs together. As such, we’ve created a list of several dos and don’ts to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when you’re applying for jobs.


Make it unique

Because every position advertised will have differing requirements in terms of skills and attributes, applications to different positions will require uniquely put-together CVs. The best idea is to read through the job ad well, and any specific characteristics they’re looking for, place at the very top of your CV so they’re easily spotted.

Keep it short and sweet

The ideal length of a CV is one page. Sure, you might have a huge amount of interesting traits and information you’d like to include, but it’s important to cut as much as possible and keep only the most relevant information. The employer/HR staff will more than likely have a pile of CVs to go through, so make their job easier by getting straight to the point.

Ensure your contact details are professional

The email address you created in early high school might’ve been funny/cool back in the day, but it’s not appropriate anymore. If you haven’t already, register yourself a more professional email address that includes your name. Also, check and make sure the other information you’re providing is the most up-to-date.

Harness the power of dot points

Nowadays, attention spans are shorter than they’ve ever been. Combat this by using dot-point lists to express skills, experience and other information.

Proofread before you send

Safeguard yourself from sending an application that includes old contact details, spelling and/or grammatical errors, or is missing vital information that you’ve simply forgotten to include. A great way to proof is by reading through it aloud – this makes it much easier to pick up missing words, grammatical issues and more.

And if you’re sending via email, make sure you attach the correct file (and the file’s name is appropriate).

Back it all up with some research

Utilise the internet and search for some example CVs or even templates for the profession. You can use your findings to gain ideas and discover things you might be missing on your application.


Make things up

Whether it’s in the interview or later on down the track, chances are your lie will be found out. Don’t risk it – tell the truth.

List relatives as your references

Although this may seem obvious, it’s definitely worth noting. Also, it’s easier than you think for potential employers to know that the reference you’ve listed isn’t legitimate so don’t have your friends pose as someone they’re not either.

Like your own, your references’ contact details must be up-to-date. It’s courteous to let them know each time you’ve sent a job application with their info on it, and that they may receive a phone call in the near future.

Make spelling or grammatical errors

Going back to the last point on the ‘do’ list will protect you sending off your application when it has spelling or grammar mistakes. There are studies that show poor grammar and/or spelling can discredit your intelligence, and shows you have a low attention to detail. As an extension to your own proofreading, why not ask a friend or family member to do the same? An external pair of eyes may pick up something you didn’t for whatever reason.

Opt for specialised fonts or any images

Using a non-traditional font is an absolute no-no. Sure, it may help your CV ‘stand out’, but it’ll be doing so in a negative way. Choose something that is easily read and aesthetically pleasing for the reader; Times New Roman, Garamond, Arial and the like. And make sure you stick to one – good formatting is important, too.

What about images? Well, unless you’re applying to a graphic designer position or something similar, steer clear. They take away focus from where it should be: a list of your experience and skills.

Leave out any important details

This doesn’t particularly concern your personal information (hopefully that’s all in there already!). What we’re talking about here is details concerning your past experience. If you’re not keen on including dates or information about the business for some reason, don’t include it at all. Gaps in information look bad, so omit it entirely to save confusion and suspicion.

Include a picture (or your age)

Unless it’s been specifically requested, don’t provide a portrait of yourself, the same with your age. The last thing you want is to be judged even before you set foot in the interview room, and providing either (or both) may very well have that effect.


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