CVs are incredibly difficult to get right; you could say that writing a good CV is an art and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. There are plenty of good CVs circulating the job search field however unfortunately there are considerably more bad CVs out there.
Typically, bad CVs belong to people who simply write a CV without placing much thought into the content. However, there are bad CVs belonging to people who clearly care, but have little idea how to go about writing a good CV.
So, this page is aimed at helping those who do care, create an improved CV. To do this we start looking at 2 CVs:
A Good CV Example: Professionally written with a clear layout and good content that grabs the reader’s attention
A Bad CV Example: Clearly written by someone in a rush who demonstrates little care and understanding of the CV writing process.
Having reviewed each CV we will then compare each CV section and analyse what works well in the good example and the ways in which the bad example fails.
So, lets begin.
Our Bad CV Example
Our Good CV Example
Why Is This Good Example Of A CV So Effective?
- Name and contact details easily identified
- Clear, crisp black and white layout portrays a professional image
- Uses standard font.
- Good use of bullet points to break up large chunks of text
- Qualifications and professional training are fully listed with dates and institution attended
- Profile is concise, professional and provides a summary of the individuals career, skills and achievements
- Contains a skills section that highlights specific skills suitable to the vacancy
- Key achievements are included to demonstrate capabilities
- Employment history is complete and listed in reverse chronological order.
Lets break the two CV examples into its 6 main sections and examine them in more detail.
Name And Contact Details
Here is the first section from the bad CV example
Mr Eric Spanks
Address: 48 London Rd, Norwich,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 07123 456 791
DoB: 01 March 1963
Marital status: Married.
Why Does This Contact & Personal Details Section Fail To Hit The Mark?
- Adding “Curriculum Vitae” to the top of the CV is un-necessary, it’s clear to any reader exactly what this document is, plus it distracts the reader from the key information in the header, which is your name!
- Again, placing “address” before the street name is pointless. If you wish to add an address ensure it’s a full address, if however, you are unwilling to include your full address for data protection reasons, then simply add the town/city name in which you reside.
- When stating your email address, it’s best to stick with emails that a professional image. Don’t use ones that include nicknames.
- Personal details is a section of the CV that is redundant in these modern times, as people are now more conscious of keeping personal data safe.
Having examined the bad example its clear to see how good this example of a contact detail section is.
On this example of a good CV corrects all of the faults highlighted in the bad example
- The name of the individual is at the top of the CV and is the first thing the readers eye is drawn to.
- The postal address is fully quoted
- Gone is the gimmicky email address and has been replaced by a more professional one.
- The Personal details section has been resigned to the bin.
The profile taken from our bad CV example is poor
I am honest and hardworking, a stickler for time keeping and I prefer straight talking, and facts from fiction. I enjoy a challenge and I am highly motivated, I’m also PowerPoint & Excel literate
This profile is extremely weak and unfortunately it is the most common example of a profile found on CVs
- The profile is located at the bottom of the second page of the CV which is the wrong positioning. Ideally it should be located at the top of the CV under the contact details
- It tells you nothing about the individual, apart from their love of clichés
- Its way too short. A good profile statement should be 4-6 lines in length
Our good example demonstrates the difference between the two profiles instantly
An approachable and highly successful Operations/Branch Manager with a proven track record for driving successful partnerships and new projects within the Merchanting and Wholesale sector. He has extensive experience of implementing new branches under stakeholder partnerships and possesses an excellent commercial approach to solving problems and developing business not only within Managed Services Contracts but in a highly competitive commercial wholesale/Merchanting environment. Eric has the ability to work autonomously or as part of a team and is passionate about supporting individuals in their professional development.
Why is this profile so much more effective?
- The purpose of the profile section on a CV is to provide the reader with a snappy summary of the individual, enticing the recruiter to read further. Our good CV example profile does exactly that by providing the reader with:
- Most recent job title, Operations/Branch Manager
- Sectors in which the individual has worked, Merchanting and Wholesale sector
- States some key skills, excellent commercial approach to solving problems
- Highlights achievements that would attract an employer, implementing new branches under stakeholder partnerships
In addition, it avoids using worthless clichés, perfect!