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Tips on how to write a good CV

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Tips on how to write a good CV

If you are applying for a new job or even thinking about it, having your CV in order and up to date is a good start. Here we give you some tips on how to write a CV to get you an interview for that perfect job.

Most people are a little bit nervous when it comes to writing their CV. It’s totally understandable, especially when you hear so many conflicting dos and don’ts!

The main purpose of a CV is for you to show off your key skills and achievements and how they make you the best fit for the job. Your CV won’t get you the job in itself; however you should aim for your CV to help you make the shortlist.

What Should Your CV Objectives Be?

  • Highlight your main skills and achievements
  • Provide evidence to back-up these claims
  • Show how you can add more value than your peers; what makes YOU different? What is your unique selling point?
  • Get you to the interview process
  • Create a document that’s easy to read and has a logical flow; makes it easier for the interview panel
  • If you attain an interview it’s likely that your CV will be the basis for the conversation, so make it work for you!

Before You Start Writing…

You need to know exactly what the recruiter is looking for. Each job is unique, so you need to tweak your CV so it fits each job as best as it can. Read and re-read the job description and person specification. Highlight the key points, i.e. what are they looking for? How do you fit? What can you do for your employer? What will you bring to the team? Once you’ve done this you can start matching up how your skills and achievements fit. What evidence will you use to prove that you are the best person for the job?

Setting Out Your CV

On average a recruiter will only spend around 15 – 20 seconds looking at each CV. The clearer you can make your CV the better. You need the recruiter to take in as much useful information as possible in a really short amount of time.

To make it easier to glance at, sub-divide your CV into sections:

  • Personal details
  • Education & qualifications
  • Work experience, gap years & previous employment
  • Skills
  • Interests

When It Comes To Layout:

  • Use chronological order with the most recent first
  • Fill no more than two sides of A4 (printed double-sided so the sheets don’t become separated)
  • Type your CV in a clear font, such as Arial. Try to keep the size between 10–12; no one wants to squint read a CV!
  • Never type in CAPS
  • You should avoid using bold, italics and underlining unless using for emphasis or navigation
  • Also avoid adding graphics or image
  • Use bullet points. Try not to use more than six in a row and two sentences max per bullet point
  • Keep sentences short
  • Avoid using the word I
  • Being able to see the paper it’s printed on is a good thing – it means your CV isn’t too cluttered
  • Print out on good quality white/cream card

Filling In the Blanks

When it comes to filling in the headings, there are a few things you should think about:

  • Tell the truth
  • Keep it simple
  • Be positive, use ‘action’ words such as achieving, delivering, influencing, inspiring and initiating
  • Demonstrate what you’ve achieved, not just what you did
  • Why are you different? Speak another language? Win an award? Write for websites, journals or publications? Are you a member of any relevant professional bodies/clubs/societies?
  • Still waiting on your results? Write ‘degree expected’ next to your current course
  • If you graduated with Honours, then mention it
  • Provide course details and dates

What You Don’t Need To Include

Some of these might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised what candidates will put on their CVs!

  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Photo
  • Weight or height
  • Marital Status
  • How many children you have
  • Matters about your health or any disabilities you have
  • Trade union or political affiliations
  • Humour
  • Existing salary/expected salary
  • Anything critical or negative, such as poor grades or work experiences
  • You don’t have to include any personal interests or hobbies unless it’s relevant to the job
  • Unless asked to provide references then you can simply mention at the end of your CV ‘references available upon request.’ No employer should contact your references unless a) they are considering offering you the job (normally after an interview) b) they have your permission

And Finally…


A CV with mistakes doesn’t make a good impression. If you’ve spent a lot of time looking at your CV, it can be difficult to spot any mistakes. Take a break for a couple of days then come back to your CV and check it again. You could also ask family or friends to look at it if you need a fresh pair of eyes. Remember that Dental Protection is also on hand to check over your CV.

And remember, don’t panic – take a deep breath. Everyone is in the same position. Just do your best!

Good luck!

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