You’ve responded to yet another job advert, but the phone isn’t ringing…Wandering where the problem is and what you can do to change it? Have you looked at your CV? In just a few steps, we’ll tell you how to become a more appealing candidate in the eyes of your future employer.


1. Picture

The thing that stands out immediately when a CV/ application is opened is your face – this is the thing that will be memorized. It’s a good idea to ensure the picture is best possible quality, and we don’t just mean high resolution. It’s a visual part of your showcase or your CV. If the picture looks professional, so will you. Strange poses, awkward settings and mismatched clothes don’t help. It’s a good idea to get a professional photographer or a talented friend to take your picture. No picture is not a good idea either, especially when applying for a role where your looks are just as important as your competencies (e.g. when applying for a secretarial or a sales representative position).


2. Personal data

Don’t forget to provide some basic details about yourself, like your first and last name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail. While you would think these data are a given, there are applications out there that are missing contact details or that contain outdated contact details. Your e-mail address format is worth mentioning. The one that looks best is the classic: Often, we won’t be the only ones with the same name but adding numbers, even if they’re your birthdate, won’t look appealing. When this is the case, you can add your middle name or a special character (,, name_surname@domain.pl_. Interestingly, some recruiters will in fact pay attention to the e-mail accounts that candidates use, but as long as your e-mails don’t come from a server called, you can consider this to be a secondary issue.


3. Chronology

A simple rule applies: start by listing the schools you went to, then the places you worked for, and close with the remaining data (language proficiency, skills, trainings & courses, etc.). A lot of people make the mistake of starting from the oldest items. An employer doesn’t want to begin by reading about what you did 10 years ago; he wants to know what you did recently and what you’re best at. The same applies to your education; remember not to put in any education items prior to high school. The date format is important too. For education, it’s best to use just the years you went to school, and for work experience to use months and years. It doesn’t matter whether you graduated in the summer or winter semester, as long as you’ve got the diploma to prove it. For work experience, no one expects you to list your employment to the exact day, as long as you provide a general overview.


4. Range of information

Casual, ambiguous information will generate a lot of questions but not everyone will be ready to make the extra effort to establish the facts, especially with plenty of colorful CVs around, that meet the applicant criteria. Recruiters look for specific skills and know-how, and contrary to common belief, titles and names of roles don’t define them, and may in fact suggest you are either under- or overqualified for the job. Hence, you should provide a description of how proficient you are in a given area (e.g. in a language or software). If an employer lists the level of mastery he’s looking for, and you state your proficiency, it will likely be checked for. In other words, it’s not worth lying about such key prerequisites. If you’ve got the certificates to prove you’ve got the desired qualifications, list them in your CV or bring a copy to the interview.


5. Tell them more about yourself

Let’s leave the rigid rules behind for a moment. Whilst it’s important to stick to the basics, once you get past them, you can get to the essence. That essence is most certainly a summary of your career accomplishments and the goals you’ve set for yourself. A few lines at the top of your CV should be enough. That’s right, at the top. However, since this will be the essence of your entire CV, you can also insert this at the end of your document. The summary is just as important as a description of your entire professional career. Think about it: you’ve got a background in Marketing, and all of a sudden you crave to test yourself in Sales where you can get to apply all your know-how about how to market stuff into the company’s bottom line. You need to write about this! And how about your accomplishments? Do boast about them, especially if you can use them in the job you’re applying for.


6. The devil’s in the details

You’ve got to accept that your CV will be scrutinized by professionals. They deal with tens if not hundreds of career profiles every day. They’ve seen it all, they’re skilled at spotting any gaps, inconsistencies, little lies. If they don’t do it while reading your CV, they will be sure to check for them during the interview. Some of them will check if you’ve really worked for a given company. Others will check if you really can do what you claim to know how to do by putting your skills to the test! So you’re fluent in English because you’ve lived in the UK for a year? Great! We’re looking for someone just like you, so be ready to do your entire job interview in English. So you’re into Scandinavian literature? What a coincidence – so is your interviewer. What book have you read lately?


7. Custom-tailored CV

You are really keen to get a specific job and have the background, the experience and the education to apply. But you’re not the only one, the competition’s fierce and the company you’re applying to knows plenty new people will join its ranks. How to stand out from the crowd? Reference the position you’re applying for in your CV. Let your audience know that this message is tailored to them. Describe your career goal, highlight your strengths, attach a cover letter. Start by analyzing the requirements and figuring out what’s a must and what’s nice-to-have. If you apply in spite of clearly lacking the required competencies or credentials, you will appear ignorant. Submitting a CV which you’ve previously tailored to another position will also make you look bad.


8. Transparency and consistency

You may have a top-notch curriculum vitae, but no one is going to want to read it if it’s not formatted well. From the font style to the background color – literally everything counts. Expectations differ depending on the position you’re applying for, but some golden rules are worth remembering.


I. Don’t provide information in run-on sentences. Stick to bulletpoints from the most to the least important.


II. More doesn’t mean better. Too much information means your audience will read your CV selectively. Use formatting to highlight what you feel is key or limit your information to what’s most relevant.


III. One piece of information leads to another. Claim to have extraordinary analytical skills? If you haven’t done anything that required them in the past, this claim will be hard to believe.


IV. Form over content is never appreciated. Don’t claim to be a Department Manager if you’re the only employee in the department. It’s highly unlikely you started out in the role of a specialist if you had no such background before. State the different career levels you’ve moved through at a given company.


9. Good ending

How to wrap-up your CV? With the Consent statement! Without it, the recruiter and the company won’t be allowed to use your data for recruitment purposes, or in other words, they won’t be allowed to call you back. The truth is, you don’t give your consent by simply sending in your CV. Either check for what Consent text is currently in effect or follow instructions in the job advert. Once you’ve included this pivotal clause in your CV, it’s time to save all this data. There’s only one correct CV document format, and it’s PDF. First, this format ensures your recipient will get to actually open the file, and second, this format allows for more flexibility (like a wrapped gift). Document size also matters – no one will bother reading a CV that’s too long. Two A4 pages is the right length.


10. Templates

We definitely advise against using templates. A recruiter will quickly spot you’ve used one. After all, recruiters receive tens of CVs, and templates are bound to repeat themselves. Instead of generating your CV via online CV templates that so many people rely on, try and stand out with your own, unique CV. You’ll soon find out what it can do for you.