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Whether you’re creating your first or your tenth Curriculum Vitae (CV), it can feel like a daunting task. 
That’s why we’ve assembled the ultimate list of professional CV tips to help you develop the perfect CV. 

They’ll guide you through building your CV, whatever stage of your career you’re at.
Like many formal documents, the CV follows an exact format, which is the secret to a professional and clear CV that recruiters will love to read. You can learn this format and take advantage of our recruiter-approved, instant templates – making it easier than ever before to create, edit, save, and download multiple CVs.
We’ll show you just what to look for, how to become a professional with our CV tips, and how to apply these today. Let’s get started!


Our top CV tips to help you look your best

How do you present a good CV? Your CV needs to reflect your unique skills, experience, and personality, but it needs to be formatted correctly. You need CV tips and tricks to make you stand out from the rest. Recruiters may have over 100 applicants per role, and they’re looking for someone whose CV stands out.

Your CV needs to be right for you, and that’s why, depending on your industry, there will be differences in presentation style. We’ve pulled out some of the best tips and help with CVs that we’ve come across in our extensive experience working with recruiters and CV building professionals.

Follow reverse chronological order

One of the most overlooked CV tips is to start with your most recent experience!

List your employment history in reverse chronological order (most recent first). It’s acceptable to leave out past roles that aren’t relevant to your current job application, even if you are entry level.

Adding your positions from old to new will immediately turn recruiters off. With only 6 seconds to skim your CV for the relevant information, if you put this at the end, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Use a professionally designed template

A CV template makes life easier and much faster to get your CV prepared. Good CV tips sometimes miss out this crucial step in professional CV building. A good template will help with CV formatting, showing you exactly where to add what information and generally how much to add.

Using myPerfectCV’s templates, you’ll instantly get a design and style made for you, instead of trying to do this in word processing software. Using a template saves you time as you can try out different templates with the click of a button and change back again – it’s a risk-free way to see what suits you best!

Always focus on the top third of your CV

Recruiters often only scan the top third portion of a CV. So one of our best tips for UK CVs is to focus your efforts here! Use this section wisely and squeeze in as much detail as possible without making your CV look too full. A great personal statement for example, will help with CV impact.

This means:

  • Making sure you have the correct contact details.
  • Creating a powerful and impactful personal statement.
  • Using headers and spacing out your top sections, so they are easily skimmed.

How to order your CV

As well as what to add to a CV, consider what order to include it in. There’s a generally accepted order for professional CVs in the UK, which is as follows (from top to bottom):

  • Personal details
    Your name, address, telephone number and email address should be clearly visible at the top of the CV.

  • Personal statement
    A personal statement may also be referred to as a summary section. This is a short, three sentence elevator pitch of your experience designed to entice recruiters to keep reading.

  • Work experience
    The purpose of the employment history or work experience section is to show recruiters the work you’ve done, for which company, and when.

    Within this section you must include your job title, the dates of employment, the name of the company, plus your experience.

  • Skills
    The skills section is one of the most critical areas of a CV as it helps the recruiter see if you’re a good match for the role. Think of it as a keywords section where the recruiter will scan for matching skills to the job description.

  • Education
    List your qualifications using a reverse chronological order (most recent first). Include the name of the educational institution (university, college, or school), the type of qualification (degree, A-levels or GCSEs) and the date awarded.

    If you have a degree or have more than ten years of work experience, it’s not necessary to list university or school grades on your CV.

  • Hobbies and references
    It’s not essential to include hobbies and references on a CV, but you can include them if you think they’ll impress the recruiter or improve your chances of getting hired.

Don’t be afraid of styling your CV

While layout remains more or less fixed, you have creative freedom with the style of your CV. Once you understand what a CV should look like – feel free to have some fun. Using the myPerfectCV builder you can easily adjust font colour, borders, template style, and more.

It is crucial in today’s marketplace to be yourself and companies are looking for a diverse range of candidates for all sorts of roles.

Align your content to the left so it’s easy to read

One of the deadly sins of CV formatting is to align your CV centrally, justified, or to the right. Alignment like this is difficult for the human eye to read quickly, as we naturally scan text from left to right.

Instead, you should always align your text to the left.

Though it might be tempting to align different sections in different ways, consider the impact on the reader before you do it.

Know the importance of font size and style

Do you know the difference between serif and sans serif typeface?

Whether you do or don’t, we’ve taken the guesswork out of choosing a CV font by choosing fonts that not only look great but that are easy for recruiters to read. This is part of what makes a CV good.

Highly legible fonts like the ones in our CV builder and templates increase the ease with which a recruiter can read your CV and get to the heart of your experience.

Get friendly with white space and margins

Just like fonts, using margins and spacing correctly will help the recruiter to find the most critical sections of your CV quickly.

Don’t cram as much onto two pages as possible; make sure you leave ample spaces (at least one line-height) between sections.

The more white space used, the easier it is to skim the CV. The same applies to margins which help to create a uniform look to your CV. Luckily, our templates will handle this for you, so you don’t have to worry.

Using bold, italics, and underlining

Making the correct use of bold, italics, and underlining is often overlooked. Our templates automatically create consistent and attractive formatting so you can work on content. Correct use of these additional formatting options is a valuable tip on how to build a successful CV.

The best CVs are those with clearly titled sections. For example, the ‘experience’ section is bold and in a larger typeface than the body of your CV.

Remember that everything can be overused, so go sparingly, be consistent, and to make it easier: use a template like ours!

Take the hassle out of CV building with our professional templates

Our professionally designed CV templates are the secret ingredient to a perfectly formatted CV. Why go through the stress of formatting using Word, when our sleek templates will do it all for you?

Play with different fonts, colours, and layouts all at the click of a button. Don’t like it? Change it back in seconds! Take the hard work out of creating your CV today with myPerfectCV.


Our top general CV tips for a creating a knock-out CV

Adding career gaps if you’re returning after parental leave, or were away travelling

Thanks mainly to new employment laws and more ethical hiring practices, it’s not necessary to explain or include career gaps on your CV. However, you may still like to add these.

If you do so, consider the transferable skills learned during these periods. If you were a parent, think of soft skills developed such as ‘patience’ and ‘increased compassion’.

If you were on a gap year, consider adding the skills of ‘orientation’, ‘ability to work autonomously’, ‘languages gained’, and ‘cultural awareness’.

It’s outdated to see gaps in your CV as a weakness. They are more often an advantage and make you a more well-rounded and exciting candidate.

The career path of individuals today is so different to even just 20 years ago. Don’t let career gaps overwhelm you.

Consider asking someone to read over your CV

Don’t miss out on this top CV tip to perfect your CV. myPerfectCV has built-in spellcheck, but it’s advisable to get an outsider to read over your CV before you send it to a recruiter. They‘ll spot mistakes you can’t and can tell you if anything seems amiss.

Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors can ruin a good first impression, and you don’t want to have spent all that time on a CV to find there are mistakes.

Try asking a parent, loved one, friend, or colleague.

Send your CV as a PDF unless asked otherwise

With our software, you can download your CV in a range of formats, including Word, TXT, and PDF.

We highly recommend downloading and sending as a PDF as this ensures your newly-created masterpiece is perfect when recruiters open using other software. PDF ‘locks’ the formatting and will appear in the best format for all types of computers and browsers.

PDFs from the myPerfectCV builder are also still quickly scanned using ATS software (unlike documents you might create yourself).

Know the difference between hard and soft skills

Soft skills are common personal attributes or qualities. They include things like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. It’s likely that a lot of people will have the same soft skills as you, it’s less likely that everyone will have the same hard skills.

Hard skills are gained through qualifications and certificates and are an essential part of the role. For example, a web developer needs to have knowledge and experience of working with HTML to code websites. They tend to be more technical and call attention to areas of specialism.

Both are essential for your CV, but recruiters like to see a balanced mix of both types of skills. The best practice for CV building in the UK is to show a range of skills that are relevant to the role you’re going for.