CV Secrets

CV Secrets You Need to Know

Spending so much time reviewing CVs from people who are clearly in need of guidance is very frustrating. Why isn’t it obvious to them that their CV won’t work? Can’t they see it’s too long winded and boring?

Of course the answer lies in the fact that they only have their own CV to consider and it’s a matter of pride – and quite fascinating to them – to be able to fill 7 pages all about themselves.

But does anyone else really care? Who needs that level of detail to decide whether an interview should be offered? My own tolerance of unnecessary detail is very limited and confronted by lots of stuff I don’t want or need to know, I generally switch off.

What these people are missing is the fact that the CV is not there to GET them the job, but only to create enough interest to get them an interview. That’s when they have a chance to GET the job.

So what can be done about it?

Concentrate on the readers’ needs; what do they absolutely need to know and what can be left out. If you are applying in response to an advertised vacancy, then the advert itself has all the clues you need, use the requirements they describe as a checklist and show in your response how you meet their needs.

When you send your CV to someone who hasn’t advertised its just as important to avoid overwhelming the eventual reader because you are imposing on their time. You should keep it to the minimum and focused entirely on how you can contribute specifically to their business needs.

When a prospective employer goes through a stack of applications, what do they use to cut that stack down? Your CV of course, so it follows that your CV is more likely to work against you than for you!

Provide too much information and one of two things happens:

  • the salient points are lost or are unseen among all that detail or
  • they think that’s all there is and don’t consider the point you might have omitted.

Just about everybody can get a really good CV on two pages of A4 if they keep it to the point i.e. repeatable, relevant achievements with clear chronology.

Keep it free from jargon as you never know who will do the first sift and use job titles that are descriptive and understandable. When you get there, you can always say at interview “my actual job title was…”

Make sure you can be contacted easily, don’t leave them having to search for your contact details – address, telephone and email should all be at the top of your document.


A new, job-winning CV for everyone