In the past I’ve been asked to review a number of people’s CVs – curriculum vitae (CV) – so I thought it was high time to create the ultimate CV Checklist which is targeted for the UK market. Do try and keep your CV up-to-date, you never know when a perfect opportunity might come along, so be prepared and don’t be caught out because your CV is out-of-date, especially as you now have this CV Checklist! For ease of reading, I’ve listed the sections below in the order in which they should appear on the CV. Don’t forget that your CV should be accompanied by a covering letter. Stand out from the crowd and good luck with your job hunt!
- It is no more than two pages of A4 (three pages for senior executives)
- Page margins at least 1cm all round
- If you’re a designer – make sure your CV stands out!
- Hold it at arm’s length: does it have a pleasing and professional appearance?
- There should be no long paragraphs more than 7 lines long. If there are any, they should be separated into smaller paragraphs or you should use bullets or bold out key words.
- Is it easy and clear to read?
- Not too much white space at the end? This suggests that you’ve run out of things to say about yourself!
- Is the most important information on the first page of the CV?
- Is everything neatly aligned?
Structure and style checks
- Make sure there is a clear structure with appropriate headings and logical development
- Leave at least a line gap between sections. Normally education before work experience for a student CV.
- Use bullets for lists
- Are you using larger fonts for subheadings? eg. 14 points
- Make sure that your headings are not underlined
- Use bold or italic to draw eye to key points
Spelling and grammar checks
- Have you used a spell checker?
- Is capitalisation used correctly? (BSc and not Bsc, Capitals used for names of roads – 10 Acacia Avenue, etc.)
- Have you also proofread it thoroughly? A spell checker won’t pick up the difference between form and from!
- Check the grammar and punctuation carefully
Personal Details section
- Your name (not the words Curriculum Vitae) is in a bold format at the top of the page
- Email address (sensible and businesslike one!)
- mobile number
- Linkedin profile link
Personal Profile section
- It is no longer than 3 sentences?
- Is it short, punchy, strategic, highlighting your current situation and outlining your
- future career plans?
Career History section (if graduate use ‘Work Experience’)
- State job title
- State company name
- Start start month and year as well as end month and year
- State key responsibilities
- State achievements/outcome
- Quantify where possible eg. team size, financial value
- State new skills gained
Pro-Bono Roles section (optional)
- Start with the latest pro-bono role first
- State full role
- State institution name
Education, Qualifications and Awards section
- Start with the latest course / qualification / award first
- State institution name
- State full course name
- Include start and end dates
- Where applicable state pass grade/mark/degree classification
- If you’re a recent graduate, include your modules and dissertation project (which may need an explanation)
- For awards, how far did you get? State winner, finalist, runner up, shortlisted
- Languages and competency? (basic, conversational, fluent)
- List of software applications used and competency
- Driving licence? Is is clean (no endorsement points)?
- Have you included a broad variety of interests? e.g. team sports, independent or challenging holidays/foreign travel?
- Did you include social and active interests as well as solitary and passive interests?
- Is there evidence of serious commitment to at least one activity?
- Is there organising or leadership experience/evidence of taking responsibility and the initiative?
- List interests that are relevant to the job
- State ‘References available upon request’, or
- List your chosen referees details:
- obtain permission from referee that they are happy to provide you with a reference
- State name
- State job title
- State address
- State telephone number
- Spelling and grammer has been double checked
- Confirm that there are no gaps in your history
- PDF the CV and print it out to review it
- Is everything aligned correctly?
- Check that all hyperlinks work in PDF
- Give your PDF CV to someone else to review