Do It Right

Do It Right


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Do It Right

If you have to ask whether or not your CV is doing its best for you – then it’s not. Your CV should do for You in the business arena what an Agent does for Actors in the entertainment world, or what a Manager does for Athletes in sports circles. In other words it gets you through the door into a person to person meeting and, after that, it’s up to you!

Most potential employers dread scrutinizing CVs and holding interviews. The majority of them have had no training and rely heavily on guidelines from friends, books and the net. A large proportion simply goes with what they call ‘gut feel’. But the plain truth is they are all just too busy.

In a big company the Appointed Recruiter could easily be expected to work their way through 200-300 CVs within a few days maximum. In a small company the prospective Employer might only have 20–30 CVs to read – but to that person, it will seem like 200-300!

How then, do you make your CV the one that is the attention grabber? What do you have to do to make your CV shout “Pick me!” “Pick me!”?
The answer is probably the opposite of the ideas that fill many Career Seekers’ minds. Your CV must be simple and straightforward, direct and to the point, short and easy to read, sufficiently comprehensive for the job for which you are applying. 

Sounds suspiciously simply? Not really …. There is a standard way of CV writing that has universality about it. Obviously, as always, there are variations on the theme depending on if you’re in India, Germany, UK or USA; but, all over the world, there is a sort of generally accepted CV format. That said there is also a list of don’ts that are generally regarded as tacky and unacceptable.

In this module we’ll deal with both of those lists:

  • Do ensure your CV makes sense and leaves nothing to assumption making;

  • Do ensure that the only paper you use is standard white A4 size;

  • Do use only black print – it’s corporate and easier to read;

  • Do check and double check your spelling and grammar;

  • Do take the time to read and re-read your CV out loud to yourself to ensure it sounds right;

  • Do make use of spacing as it’s important in making the document easier to read and look better;
  • Do use headings if there are several sections that you need to separate;
  • Do use a sensible font – it’s generally believed that Arial and Times New Roman, Century Gothic or Calibri are the most acceptable, whereas Scripts, Italics and unusual looking fonts are probably the worst;
  • Do keep it as short, but comprehensive, as possible: no more than 2 or 3 pages – 4 at the most – of course adding your percentages and marks from the University will extend it somewhat;
  • Do show enthusiasm for the job for which you are applying;
  • Do keep to the truth – even an implied lie will have its repercussions later;
  • Do give the reasons why you are applying for a particular position.


  • Don’t use coloured paper it’s an immediate turn off and looks odd amongst the white;
  • Don’t use coloured print as it hurts the eyes and is quickly put aside without it being read;
  • Don’t appear bored or blasé or entitled;
  • Don’t be so important that you sound too good for the job;
  • Don’t use photographs unless they are conservative& academic looking – if you need them at all;
  • Don’t do pretty drawings on the front cover – or anywhere else – business is business;
  • Don’t scent the paper as, by the time the recruiter gets it, the scent smells awful;
  • Don’t attach little notes and letters from your family and friends saying how good you are – once again this is business  
  • Don’t use binders or fancy covers or add bits of lace, ribbons or sequins! Yes, I have seen a large number of this type of things and mostly it won’t be taken seriously and your CV will either end up in a lever arch file at the bottom of a pile, or in the garbage bin;
  • Don’t use any rude words, colloquialisms or slang: they are unacceptable and often misinterpreted;
  • Don’t ask for advice from family or friends - their opinions are far too biased and, in any case, – unless they’re in the business, they’re probably in need of the same assistance;
  • Don’t make derogatory remarks about any persons or business; if you have nothing good to say, better say nothing at all.

There we are then. We’ve considered the first part of Writing your own Curriculum Vitae (CV). In my next article this discussion will continue so as to refine the process. I will explain to you the difference between a CV and a Resume as they are not the same; and you will receive further guidance on this most important of documents.

Further, I also intend to show you an outline of a basic but acceptable CV. Hopefully this will be of assistance for those job seekers who need the help.

If any of you want more details or would like to discuss some of these points, please, reach out and all information available will be supplied to you with pleasure.

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