Tips on writing a successful CV

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Tips on writing a successful CV

Tips and tricks

Whether you enjoy CV writing or not, it surely is worth it to dedicate this activity enough of your treasured time. You can be sure that your effort will pay off in the form of more frequent answers or higher number of interviews.  Just try to be in the skin of an HR professional or recruiter for a while. They do not know you personally, have never met you and they should make a decision based only on several sheets of paper. And as only about 30 seconds on average is spent on assessing one CV, it is totally worth it to put extra care into writing THE resume that will stand out.

Jak tedy vytvořit životopis, který zaujme a na stole se jen tak neztratí? Přečtěte si následující tipy.

The form matters

Do not underestimate the form and overall look of your CV. Yes, it is easy to copy the CV from your older brother or best friend and just change the details. But try to involve some colour or change the layout which will surely call for attention and break the 50 shades of grey that are so widespread. But don’t forget that less is sometimes more. Your CV should still remain neat, easy to read and look professional. Adjust the overall look to the position which you are applying for. A graphic designer’s resume will probably be, and actually should be, a far cry from one of financial director. In the times, where you can find plentiful sources of interesting CV templates online, it would be a shame to continue updating the same copy you used to apply for your first high school job.

No matter how you decide in the end, it is important to keep in mind that all the important information is easy to find.

Include personal profile

The area just under your personal details can be utilised for a brief presentation of your person. This can be done as if a colleague has written about you in a few sentences. What you see in your CV doesn’t necessarily have to be what others see in it. Use this short paragraph to summarize what describes you best, what are your strengths and how your future employer can benefit from your previous experience.

Order, please

So, you have included all necessary personal details and written a short profile. What should follow and in which order? A lot of applicants structure their CV as if writing a biography – that is from the start. You surely don’t need to mention all your summer part time jobs from your college times if you have years of other and more relevant experience. Just concentrate on the last let’s say 15 years of experience and put your most current position on the top. If you are a fresh graduate and don’t want your CV look too empty, try making the most out of even seemingly unimportant things. Mention your volunteer activities, all certificates, courses or trainings you might have.

Only then it is time to mention your studies and here the rule ‘Last comes first’ applies too. However, it might just be enough to mention the last stage of your studies and you don’t even need to include the exact dates. This way you can prevent your CV being put aside for being too old or too young. The age will become obvious once you arrive at the interview, but there, the competition to face will already be reduced.

Not just description

What keeps repeating in many resumes that pass through hands of most HR professionals is the fact that people tend to approach their work experience as if describing what the responsibilities of a certain position should be. Most of us know what are the everyday duties of a personal assistant or a sales representative. However, much more valuable information is those stating exactly what you did at this or that job. Don’t be afraid to write a bit more. You don’t have to describe your duties in bullet points. If possible, involve numbers. How many meetings, what turnover, etc. Just be careful not to disclose any sensitive information.

And don’t forget about the keywords. They make it so much easier to look up your resume in a database. Have you worked with SAP? Or you have a PRINCE or Six Sigma certificate? You can even highlight your keywords and they surely won’t escape attention.

Too long? Too short?

The ideal length of a CV doesn’t exist. It depends on many factors including the amount of experience, type of profession or industry. But be sure if your CV reminds of a novel, it won’t receive the attention it deserves and you’ll have to repeat most at the interview anyway. You don’t need to squeeze all into one page just because you’ve heard somewhere that a resume shouldn’t be long. However, if you have an issue with your CV being too long, you can solve this by applying an interesting formatting and maximising the use of free space.

(No) Mistakes

Despite benefiting from the auto corrective features when writing, always check the text again. Or have it checked by someone else who might notice mistakes, that fled your attention. A chapter alone is double checking your contact details. No wonder no one calls or writes if you mistyped your number or email.

What to avoid

A whole article could be written about this point. We ‘ve tried to summarise in few points, what should definitely be avoided when writing your CV.

  1. Personal details. You don’t need to state whether you are married or single. It’s your private thing. The same goes for whether you have children. Your age and number of kids can be left out. It was quite common to mention these in the past; however, times change and now it is illegal to ask about the above mentioned.
  2. Lies. Have you ever had an idea to give your CV a little make up? Who will know, right? We’d recommend you stick to the truth. Sooner or later lies will show and it won’t say anything nice about you. If you have a feeling that you are missing relevant experience, try to think what skills have your previous jobs taught you and how you could apply those in the job you are applying for.
  3. References upon request. If you don’t intend to provide name and contact of your references, rather don’t write anything. ‘References upon request’ just takes up space.
  4. Cliché. Stay away from using words such as ‘creative’, ‘dynamic’, ‘team player’ or ‘reliable’. Instead try finding a way how to describe them otherwise or support them with particular experience. Are you an author of a great campaign which you are proud of, or have you been responsible for a project that you have successfully brought to an end? Write about it and avoid the cliché.


Every CV is original and it is only up to you how you make it serve to your advantage. Professional and concise resume with a touch of colour and an interesting formatting can become a strong weapon in your hands.


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