What to look for in a good CV

September 11, 2017


Today I looked through 87 CV’s, with a view to short listing down to 6 hopefuls. At first I thought it would interesting to see all the different skills available and the different way people chose to present themselves in CV form.  After about 40 CV’s of differing quality I realised a few home truths. Some people will send their CV to anyone regardless of what the role is, some people have no idea what a CV should look like and if you actually have a good CV for the role, you had better hope it stands out.

This led me to think out loud “What should be included in a good CV?”

“A coffee stain in the corner!” shouted one office joker.

“Don’t include your picture” came another piece of advice.

“Oh no”, I thought, my CV’s got a picture! Have I been doing it wrong all these years? Does my CV stand out enough?  This led me to research the answers to my questions and take feedback from my esteemed (!) colleagues!

Here’s our list of a few simple do’s and don’ts that can help secure the interview for your perfect role!


  • Provide a tailored cover letter ensuring it is addressed to the correct person and that it refers to the correct role.
  • Ensure that the CV is bespoke for the role you are applying. Think about the knowledge, skills and experience that are required for the role. Keep it relevant! (No-one cares about the 100 meters breaststroke badge you achieved aged 8 anymore!)
  • Make it neat and tidy! Regardless of the role, the presentation of your CV speaks volumes about the pride you take in your work, your passion for the role and your IT skills. Get somebody to check it and or/help you put it together.
  • View all of your experiences in a positive light. Didn’t like working in a fast food restaurant? Why? What did you learn from this? How has it helped you going forward?
  • Put education and achievements in reverse chronological order so that the CV reviewer can assess your most up to date skills and experience.
  • Put your name, address and email on every page. Employers have to sift through a lot of CV’s and if they’re old fashioned enough to still print them out, this will ensure yours doesn’t get mixed up with others.
  • Use positive language and concentrate on measurable achievements, i.e. rather than I changed the procedure and it worked faster, say I changed the procedure and we increased productivity by 50% thus increased profit by £1000.
  • Use the internet for CV templates.


  • Hand write or type (using a typewriter) your CV. It will look unprofessional and old fashioned (get help if needed).
  • Include any negative information. (I hated working there because the manager was hideous!)
  • Include anything that might discriminate against you. (Yes that includes your photo! Unless a company specifically requests it.) Also avoid date of birth, marital status, race, gender of disability.
  • Include any salary information or expectations.
    Make your CV more than two pages long. (It gets boring after you’ve read forty of them!)
  • Use Jargon or acronyms and technical terms unless essential. (achieved all the TKPI’s whilst watching the BBC, ITV and NBC and mostly talking BS!!

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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