How to write a CV - job search site

Looking for a job? It's tough out there for jobseekers, so you need to get your CV on the web and in front of agencies and employers. Here’s how to write a CV.

Let’s just begin by saying that we’re not going to explain what to put in your CV. Instead, this article aims to help you get that CV noticed both online and in printed form.

See also: Speedy shortcuts for Microsoft Word

Formatting your CV: top tips

Here’s our first gold-plated tip: keep your CV short. No-one has time to read your six-page ‘novel’. Distil the salient points into something that will fit on a single side of A4 (two sides at most), and put the most important information and achievements at the top. The first question an employer asks is, "What can you do for me?".

Even more importantly, make sure you use the key words a potential employer will search for, since most CVs are initially read or filtered by computers. If you’re after a job as a developer, include related keywords such as programmer along with the languages you’ve learned.

You can use pretty much any word processor to create your CV, but it’s worth searching around online for CV templates. Anything modern with a bit of design flair will help, as boring old paragraphs with bold section titles won’t stand out from the crowd.

How to write a CV - Word templates

You should be able to edit a template in Word or another word processor which can open .doc or .docx files. If you’d prefer to use your own Word skills (and there are some design tips here in our How to make a newsletter in Word), just make sure you stick to one of two common fonts: Arial or Times New Roman. Use Word’s built-in styles for titles, headings and even pull quotes.

How to write a CV - Word styles

Don’t set a photo of you as the background for the page. Tempting as this may be (for certain people, it seems) it merely makes the document much less readable. By all means include a small headshot at the top by your contact details, though.

How to write a CV - Word save as PDF

When you’ve finished, use the built-in tools for checking spelling and grammar. Finally, save your CV as a PDF file, not .doc or .docx. The advantage is that almost every computer can open PDF files, and the layout is fixed. If someone opens your saved Word document with a different version of Word (or a different word processor entirely) the layout might be altered, rendering your hard work an illegible mess.

Getting your CV noticed

Gone are the old days of posting off printed copies of your CV to specific companies, although you can still email your CV if you see a job on a particular company’s website.

These days, you’ll stand a better chance of finding a job if you post your CV online. There are plenty of places you can do this, including Jobsite, Monster and Reed. Again, a quick online search will throw up many more.

How to write a CV - upload to a job site

In each case, you can sign up for an account, and then upload your CV file. Even if the site accepts .doc files, be sure to upload a PDF if possible. Your resume will be searchable by agencies and employers, so you can sit back and wait for the head hunters to come to you.

Infographic video - Vizualize.me

Infographics are everywhere these days, but creating an infographic video from your resume is simple with Vizualize.me

You can sign up for free with a social network account, such as LinkedIn (below) or create your own new account. Then you can upload your CV which is automatically turned into a catchy short video.

How to write a CV - Vizualize.me

The social network LinkedIn is essentially an online CV, so it’s well worth signing up for an account and filling out your profile using the same information from your Word document. If possible, ask appropriate people to recommend you for specific skills or work ethics as this can help enhance your profile.

 How to write a CV - LinkedIn