Your CV is a vitally important document – it’s your sole ambassador when seeking a new job. Potential employers will judge you – quickly – on the quality of your CV.

The goal of ‘making a CV stand out’ isn’t always realistic or necessary, since the CV format is inherently limited. Because employers and recruiters receive hundreds of CVs every day, it’s important that yours is both clear and concise. No one will thank you for a long CV – it simply turns the job of reviewing yours into more of a chore. 

Write confidently, but don’t exaggerate or use hyperbolic language. Confidence is great, arrogance is not.

Think hard about what you have done in your working life – not just ‘job roles’ but what you’ve achieved, what the results have been. This will help you to structure your CV into something that’s more exciting and more relevant to potential employers – who are more interested in what you can do for them than in anything else.

Keep the layout clear. Use bold headings and separate paragraphs clearly. Essential information – such as contact details, including your LinkedIn profile, should be easy to find – as should key skills (such as a second language) and memberships of professional organisations.

Your CV should be engaging and written to flow well – there are no prizes for dry language. Make sure that not only your formal education is covered but also any in-work training and even skills gained experientially.

Concentrate on your most recent two or three positions as these will be the most relevant to almost all employers. An exception to this might be a role which was in itself outstanding or where you performed especially well and it’s underpinned your career.

List work and education in reverse chronological order. Keep the number of pages of your CV to a minimum – there isn’t a hard and fast rule, but more pages mean more work for the person reviewing the CV.

Finally, we’d suggest that references are ‘available on request’ rather than listing contact details. This protects your sponsors from needless work and provides them with an initial degree of anonymity – without any penalty to yourself. It also helps you to prepare your contacts, when the need arises, rather than having a request for a reference appear out of the blue.

If you feel that you need help with your CV, please call us on 0161 443 4119 or e-mail us.

MDR Associates is a specialist recruitment provider, fulfilling contract roles and permanent jobs. Based in Stockport, near Manchester in the UK’s Northwest, we connect great people with excellent roles right across the UK – and overseas. We have over 40 years’ combined recruitment expertise – helping people find exactly the right job for them and helping organisations to resource a winning, talented workforce. We focus specifically on the built environment, rail and infrastructure, chemicals and petrochemicals, life sciences, nuclear, oil and gas, power and energy, water and utilities sectors.