Four rules for getting your CV into great shape


Your CV doesn’t get you the job. Your CV gets you into the interview room (which is where you nail it and get the job). In our experience, once people realise that, they approach it wholly differently.

Here are our four top tips to make you stand out.


1. Before you do anything else, get to grips with the role description

  • If you do nothing else, do THIS: have a core CV which you rewrite for Every Single Application. 

  • Get an interview by showing you answer every part of the JD. 

  • Really understand what they want then brainstorm examples from your career. 

  • Mirror their vocabulary – if you call them outputs and they call them deliverables, change. Make it feel like you fit in already. 


2. Do write a professional profile

This goes at the top of your CV. It’s 50-200 words of a personal statement, written in the first person. It does three things:

  1. Positions you for the role (especially true if it’s a step up). Mirror the role title in your words– so if you’re applying for a strategy role, use the word strategy, and other related terms. Use senior, experienced, trusted etc). DO NOT use clichés.

  2. Shows up front what you bring to the role.

  3. Brings energy and personality to what is an otherwise fairly bland document.


3. Don’t write a key skills section

  • Demonstrate your skills through your achievements listed below (show not tell). Anyone can write a list of skills. 

  • The ONLY exception is if they’ve for an unusual skill or qualification. 


4. Brevity and precision are key

You’ve doubtless done A LOT of stuff, but you don’t need to narrate EVERYTHING:

  • No more than two pages. Seriously. Never.

  • Font size 12 and lots of white space – give it room to breathe, and MAKE IT EASY TO READ

  • Use bullets for each point – which should be no more than two lines each.

  • More detail for recent, more senior roles

  • Be precise – details like size of budgets, numbers of people you managed, and most importantly the outcomes of your work – stop CVs on from feeling flyaway.

  • Leave anything erroneous out. Really –book club isn’t going to get you the job. Likewise, A-Levels if you’re over 30.

  • No date of birth, address etc. Just email and phone. And they’re at the end.

Sara Allen