Writing an effective CV…

The perfect CV is the CV that achieves the interview no more, no less. If the CV gets your name on the interview short list it has done its job. The good news is that your CV is the only part of the whole job selection process over which you have complete control. So it pays to make sure you get it right.

Ibell Recruitment & Staffing are happy to provide constructive feedback on your CV and offer suggestions if we feel it will improve your chances. In the meantime we have put together a guide that will help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure the right information is included in the right order.

There are no hard and fast rules, but from experience we have found the following format for structuring a CV generally works best:

Contact Details

The best place for your contact details is at the top of the first page in the middle or to the left. Make sure you include your:
- Full name
- Home address
- Telephone numbers (home, mobile and work if you don't mind being contacted there)
- Email address

Personal Details

It is often a good idea, either here or alternatively at the end of your CV, to include details of your licence status and any other personal information you feel is relevant to a prospective employer and that you are happy to include. Always keep this professional however.

Personal Profile

Here write a concise and punchy personal profile (aim for around 20-30 words). This Profile must do two things. Firstly, it must encapsulate your career aspirations and secondly it must summarize what you have to offer your next employer.

Professional Qualifications

If you have any professional qualifications or are studying towards a professional qualification, provide details here.


Depending on the length of your career to date, list your educational history in reverse order (i.e. Degree or A-levels before GCSE's etc) either here or at the end of your CV. It is not necessary to list every single exam result for GCSE's, particulalry if irrelevant at this stage and in many cases it will suffice to just summarise the number of A - C passes you achieved.

Work History

This is arguably the most important part of your CV. As with education, list your jobs in reverse order starting with your most recent or current one. Think carefully about what skills you have used and acquired during each job. If you have limited work experience remember that even the mundane jobs have taught you something.

For each job start by providing basic details including you job title, the company you work or did work for and the start and finish dates of your employment. It is often worth also writing a line or two concerning the nature of the company in question's business. Unless of course this will be obvious to the reader. The location of the company is generally not required, unless you believe it will be particulalry relevant to your application.

Using bullet points, next list your activities and achievements during that particular job.

Important: After each bullet point ask yourself, so what?...what does this really a potential employer?...for example, suppose you used the following bullet point:

Operated Till

Does this offer the employer any insight into what you learned from the experience that might benefit them if they were to take you on?...no

It might be better to put something like this:

Ran a busy checkout serving the general public, which improved my ability to work under pressure and gave me experience in dealing with a wide range of different people on a daily basis.

The above bullet point offers much more of an insight into what you gained from the experience that might be of use to your next employer.

Apply the so what? question to all your bullet points and that will help you to create a CV that sells you in a positive light.


Unless your interests and hobbies have something to do with the job you're applying for, there's no real reason to include them. However, should you wish to do so or feel it will help, then keep this section brief, with two or three interests being enough. Think about what you write here and keep it in bullet point format. Employers can sometimes learn much about a person from their interests. Crosswords and software design for example would suggest that the job seeker is intellectually able. Squash and Badminton might suggest a competitive personality. TV and reading might suggest that the job seeker prefers his/her own company.

Think about the kind of impression your interests create and be prepared to answer questions around this.

CV Do's & Don'ts


Don't leave sizeable gaps in your employment history. It's highly likely that you will be asked about this or it may lead your CV to being overlooked by a prospective employer.

Don't use fancy fonts and borders. Keep it simple and professional.

Don't try and be humorous (recruitment is a serious business for all employers)

Don't list your salary requirements at this stage, wait to be asked.

Don't overly use the word I and only use it where absolutely necessary

Don't use jargon

Don't generally use pictures or photos, unless they are requested or will be particulalry relevant to a particular position


Do check through your CV thoroughly for spelling mistakes

Do use short or succinty sentences whenever possible

Do use good quality plain white A4 paper

Do use bullet points

Do try to stick to 2-3 pages, but also don't be afraid to use an additional page or so, if the length of your career to date genuinely warrants it

Do take the time to get it right. You only get one chance to make a first impression

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