How to construct an effective CV for your job search

Morgan McKinley 25.05.2019

As a recruiter working in a volume driven market, I read and review 100's of CV's on a weekly basis.

Below are some of the most common issues I find, which I hope will help you become more successful in your job search. 

1. Not putting specific months on your CV: For example, to see "2014 - 2015" on a CV won’t benefit you. You are being too vague regarding the specific dates that you worked within the organisation – it could either mean you started in December, or started in January which leaves 10 months in between. 

2. Reasons for leaving/gaps in between jobs: There are often times when a candidate cannot keep to one reason for leaving job. Recruiters and hiring managers hear the same reasons being repeated, often over and over again. (For example, “I left to go travelling whilst renovating the house, but I was unhappy anyway because there were changes within the company and I also felt I had a lack of progression so took voluntary redundancy'). I would advise candidates to stick with one reason why they left their previous role, rather than discussing numerous different reasons as this can result in a red flag for recruiters and hiring managers. I would also advise candidates to not talk negatively about previous companies or bosses. 

3. Too much information on your CV: On occasions, some candidate’s feel they need to write "war & peace" when writing their CV. Most hiring managers simply do not have time to read through a 5,000 word essay for each candidate. They are interested in seeing the company, job title, dates, a brief sentence describing the role and a hand full of bullet points highlighting your daily duties and some key achievements throughout the position. For example, a sales candidate would include targets, how they performed against those targets and a few examples of some big deals they have won/been involved in as well as well as a breakdown of daily responsibilities throughout each week. 

4. Unnecessary jargon on your CV: Candidates will often include technical jargon, and buzz words on their CV to make their profile stand out more. However, a hiring manager will filter through this just to get to the nitty gritty of where you've actually been working. Obviously keywords help your CV stand out, but if you're going to make a statement on your CV, always make sure you have supporting evidence to back it up.

5. Poorly formatted CV's: The content within a CV is its most valuable asset, however it is important to make sure your CV is neat, tidy and laid out in a good format. (If you're unsure what a well formatted CV looks like, there are several good examples you can find online.....)

If you'd like to speak to me regarding any of the above, or get advice on how to construct an effective CV for your job search then do not hesitate to contact me by emailing

Morgan McKinley's picture