One CV does not fit all

If YOU are the best person for the job, then you will go the extra mile and submit a CV that is custom made for the job you are applying for.

In your covering email or letter, you will take the time to offer a strong introduction showcasing how you fit the job, your enthusiasm for the job and all of the reasons why they should be taking you to the next stage of the process.  Get smart and include words that the advertiser has used in their job ad. Keep the communication succinct, to the point and interesting to read.

As a Recruiter and Career Coach with 20 years’ experience, I’ve seen thousands of CV’s during my work life. There are far too many that do NOT do the job seeker any favours.

From simple spelling mistakes to unexplained date gaps, right through to screeds and screeds of irrelevant information, I’ve seen it all.


  • Put your age on your CV?

  • Include a photo on your CV?

  • Mention your qualifications or experience first?

  • Tell personal detail?

  • Keep it to a couple of pages?

  • Include all of the detail?

  • Mention your referees or just say available on request?

Recruiters and employers can look at a poorly designed CV and immediately dismiss you. They can see busy-ness, struggle to find what they are looking for, see dates cross over and wonder why, see many job changes and wonder why, get bored with reading irrelevant information. They are there to judge! It’s part of the process.

The trick to a winning CV is to be authentic, keep it on point and tailor it to the job you’re applying for.


Name, email address and phone number

Stating the obvious here, but it’s definitely best not to use your work details.  Be sure to have a professional email address and quadruple check that your phone number is correct.

The City you live in

There is no need to put your entire address in your CV.  Gone are the days of sending snail mail.

Your LinkedIn profile URL

Recruiters and Employers trawl LinkedIn more that you will ever know.  Be sure you use this real estate wisely.  Be even surer that your profile matches the job experience information in your CV.

Brand statement

In today’s market, it’s all about brand and having a brand statement makes a statement about you.  It’s your chance to shine and capture the reader’s attention from the start. This will usually indicate the type of job you’re looking for and is told in a way that shows off your personality.  Give the recruiter an idea of who you are, what you want, and WHY!

Skills, education and qualifications

Here you can tailor your CV for each job by making sure the information that is relevant to the job you’re applying for is at the top of the list.  Make it easy to be seen and found.

Work history

Most people get this right, but not all.  Include the date range, the name of the company you worked for, your job title and then bullet point your tasks.  Keep it on point and don’t waffle.  Use generic language, not that which is specific to your current employer.

If you have limited experience, think about transferable skills you might have.  This could be previous projects or voluntary work.

Evidence (Greatest accomplishments)

Be smarter than other applicants and describe your achievements and how they fit the job you’re applying for without overselling and using copious amounts of words.


Always seek permission from a referee before passing their detail onto a recruiter or potential employer.  Only include all of their details if you are happy for them to be contacted right away.

Interests & Hobbies

These are not a necessity, however can sometimes help you stand out from other applicants if they are relevant to the job or industry.  Also, interests such as fitness, cycling, running or reading can show that you are fit and healthy and love to learn.  Again, be smart here.

There are so many templates out there you can use.  Be sure to choose one that fits well with your personality and the type of job you are applying for.


It is no use impressing with a fabulous CV, then letting yourself down with terrible communication. It’s ok to follow up and check that they have received your CV.  Don’t hound them, but check in.  It’s another chance for them to see and hear your name, so you are remembered.

Be sure you are contactable via the details you provided.  If you are away from your phone have a professional answer message, particularly if you are applying for a job that sees you dealing with customers or clients.

You definitely want to be a job seeker who responds to communication quickly.  What this shows is that you have an eagerness for the job, you respect the recruiter and their precious time, and that you’re giving priority to your job search.


Be that job seeker that leaves the recruiter with a sense of excitement because they know you have ticked off all the job requirements and show an absolute keenness for the job they are advertising.

Include enough detail in your CV but don’t overdo it.  If you follow the checklist, your CV should easily fit onto about 3 pages.  Keep it relevant.  Be smart.  Follow up to be sure your CV has arrived.  Then, be available to take that call that will see you land a job interview.

Let your personality shine through.  If they don’t like it, perhaps that wasn’t the job for you.

Good luck