What Makes A Good CV A Great CV

Is Your CV A Good CV Or A Great CV?

Table of Contents

Everybody likes to think that they have a great CV but in reality, the majority only have a good CV. This means there is plenty of room for improvement but how do you know if your CV is good or bad.

Here at We Write CV we use the following classification for CVs

What Is A Good CV?

This CV typically stands you in good stead of securing an interview for every application submitted and contains:

1. Good CV Layout

A good CV always has a clear layout with all the essential information included. 

2. Mistake Free

One with no common mistakes that are usually found on CVs is an essential criteria for a good CV. Its easy to create a CV using good template, however a CV template won’t help with the quality of the content..

3. Readability

A good CV should be easy to read. where the flow of the structure and the way its written, ideally in 3rd person.

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  • 18 Point Checklist of the most crucial areas of a CV
  • First Impressions
  • CV Performance using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)
  • Suggested Improvements

All completed within 2 hours of recognised receipt of your CV and all for FREE!



How Can You Improve A Good CV to Become A Great CV?

1. Write A Killer Profile

I recently wrote an blog post on all aspects of a professional profile, recorded a video too, as this is such an important factor on a CV. It’s the first section that a recruiter will review and therefore must catch the readers attention, entice them to read further.

Most CVs will have a profile these days, however most say nothing new. They are full of clichés such as:

  • Superb attention to detail
  • Exceptional team player
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work independently


As an ex-recruiter, I’ve seen these phrases time and time again. They tell me nothing I need to know about the individual, they don’t entice me to read further (actually they make me want to reject the CV) and therefore they are a waste of space on the CV.

Be creative how you write this section. When you do state a skill support it with an example, this adds so much weight to the argument and is often the deciding factor to ensure selection.

If you need more advice on writing the perfect Professional Profile, then please check out our post or video..

Want Your CV Professionally Written ?

2. Correct Layout

A great CV always uses the most correct layout to suit the job searchers background and situation. There are 3 traditional layouts of CV:

Chronological – For those with a consistent career history

Functional – Also known as a skills based/career change CV. Ideal for those who have no experience or wish to change industry/sector

Combination – A mixture of the two CV styles.

The layout of each CV is slightly different with the sole purpose of highlighting the most relevant information to the recruiter.

For example the functional CV should be used by someone who wishes to make a career change, returning from a career break or those with no employment history, is graduates. The CVs first page should be taken up with a professional profile, key skills and key achievements. The employment history is relegated to the second page.

Whereas someone with a consistent employment history will most likely select the chronological CV as the employment history is featured on the first page as the individuals experience will be the biggest selling factor of the CV.

Selecting the right layout will elevate a good CV to become a truly great CV.

3. The Power Of Examples

There is one element that every great CV has in abundance and good CVs lack, examples. Anyone can state that they are a great negotiator with commercial acumen. It makes it sound that they are relevant for a buyers position.

Supporting these statements with examples, for example “a great negotiator responsible for reducing cost base by 49% by identifying an alternative supplier based in China”, adds more weight to the statements and are more impressive.

When using examples a great CV will always use numbers as the supporting statement. A skim reader will easily identify a number amongst a block of text, especially if it is highlighted in bold!

4. Highlight Keywords

To ensure your CV is selected for every relevant application, its essential that the CV is easy to read for the skim reader and the in depth, detail reader.

Every time a CV is received by a recruiter, the CV will be skim read to ascertain the relevance to the role the recruiter is looking to fill. Does the CV contain the important keywords that are highlighted as essential on the job specification?

A recruiter who has advertised a vacant role, will receive 100’s of CVs but doesn’t have enough spare time to read every detail on the CV. So make it easier for them to assimilate the key CV detail, by subtly highlighting those keywords in a bold font. This will make them pop form the page and therefore stand out to the skim reader.

5. Applicant Tracking Systems

Whether you like it or not we live in the 21st Century. This means that when you apply to a vacancy the first selection will most likely be made by a piece of software and not a human reader. The software works like a google search, the recruiter inputs certain variables, such as a skill, and the software will show him/her the most relevant CVs for that particular search.

10 years ago, applicants used to “keyword stuff” their CV which meant placing a large amount of keywords, using a very small font and white text, into the footer to fool the software and make them appear more relevant.

As with all technology, these pieces of software have evolved. They are no longer fooled by keyword stuffing as this created too many false searches for the recruiter. They now analyse the complete document as a human reader would, looking for natural and unnatural placement of keywords. Based on these algorithms peoples dreams live or die.

At We Write CVs, we analyse every CV produced through an ATS to ensure Clients CVs are shown in all appropriate searches and changes are made to maximise the documents efficiency. This is particularly important when you are submitting your CV to a job site that has a CV database.

If your CV has a poor ATS performance, then you will never be found in any relevant searches on job sites. With sites such as Indeed with 100 million CVs or CV-Library with over 15 million CVs its essential that you CV is keyword optimised before submittal to sites such as these.

About The Author

Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

Interview Coach & CV Writer

An Interview Coach and CV Writer with over 23 years' experience working in the recruitment industry. Thats why he's lost his hair!

Starting as an Executive Headhunter in the City of London and more recently acting as an independent consultant advising job searchers on how to successfully progress their career to the next level,

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