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Useful tips & advice

There is no such thing as the perfect CV, but there are a few tips and tricks to make sure that yours is the best it can be.

Where to start

It seems obvious, but start with your name. And make sure it’s in larger type than the rest of your CV so that it stands out clearly at the top. Middle names are an optional extra.

Contact details

These are very important and it is surprising how many people omit them from their CV. How is a recruiter going to contact you if you haven’t given them any details? You should include your home address, your main contact phone number and your email address.

Personal Statement / Profile

Tell the reader who you are, what you are looking for, and what you have to offer. Make it relevant to the role/field you are looking for. Highlight your strengths, skills, achievements and competencies. Alternatively, you can highlight your skills in a separate Skills Summary section (making it relevant to the position you are applying for). Keep it brief and to the point – the rest of your CV should be able to expand on the claims you have made here.

Education and Qualifications

If your qualifications are a good selling point, include them here. If your career history is stronger than your educational achievements you might want to move it to appear after your Experience section.

Work History / Experience

List your career history in order of most recent and relevant first and always explain any gaps. Include the full job title, the full name of the employer, and your start and finish dates. Give a brief, one-sentence description of the service the company provides. Next, give a brief but descriptive summary of your responsibilities. Try and tailor them to fit the job you are applying for – show that you have the relevant experience they need. Lastly, remember not to list the same duties for each role as this would show a lack of diversity and is a huge waste of an opportunity to highlight further skills and experience.

Interests, Achievements & Hobbies

After all the professional facts it’s good to list a range of personal interests that give the recruiter an idea of your creativity, personality and enthusiasm. A recruiter is just as interested in your ‘fit’ with the company as much as your skills and experience.

When your interests are also relevant to the role in question that is an added bonus and you should use it to your advantage. Avoid lists and expand a little bit where possible.

References

References should be from a previous employer who can vouch for your character, skills and experience. If you haven’t worked before you can use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Include two if you can.

Be Honest

It’s ok to lie a little bit on your CV, right? Wrong! It really isn’t worth the risk. If you are lucky enough to get to interview you may be questioned on what you claim to have experience in. That’s an awkward one to get out of. Even if you do make it through the interview stage and are offered your dream job, most offers are ‘subject to references’. Are you confident that your referees are going to tell the same lies? And further down the line, when you have managed to wriggle into your dream job, remember that you will be expected to know everything you have claimed…

Formatting

As many CV updates are made years apart - as you move from one job to the next – your formatting preferences have changed but your original CV hasn’t. Therefore you need to check back to ensure you are using the same style, updating the whole document if necessary. For example, if you are using bullet points, use the same type all the way through (don’t change from dots to dashes), and if you list your work experience with the Date first, don’t switch to listing Job Title first half way through.

Keep the document ‘clean’. Fancy fonts won’t win you a job. Stick to something that is clear, smart and easily readable. Take care with your spacing and give each section a clear heading. Text boxes are actually quite unhelpful - recruiters will need to remove your contact details and add their logo before sending you forward for a job, and textboxes just cause formatting issues. Finally, always write in the 1st person, and save your CV in Word format.

Spell Check

Employers DO look for mistakes on CVs. Faced with an enormous pile of applications employers will use the excuse of your avoidable errors to add you to the no pile. ALWAYS use a spellchecker and, if possible, ask someone else to double-check what you've written.

Ready to start?

Why not use our CV template (you can find this below) and bring your own CV right up to date, then send it to us so we can help you find the role that’s right for you. We just have one request: when sending us your CV please don’t send it as a PDF. PDFs cause issues when loading onto our system so Word format is best.


We know that it's the little details that make you stand out at interviews. You rarely get a second chance to impress a potential employer. We hope our advice arms you with the confidence to grasp your dream job.

Do your homework

Find out as much as you can about the company prior to the interview. Make sure you've fully explored their website and their history. It's also a good idea to find out about things close to their heart. Do they support a certain charity? Have they recently been in the paper because of an expansion? We will give you as much information as we can about the company, but it's those small extra details that you quote that will make sure you stand out.

Keep it smart

It's always important to dress smartly for an interview, even if the business has a relaxed dress code. Ensure you are well groomed with tidy hair and clean shoes and go for a minimal look - don't go over board on strong fragrances or lots of accessories.

Make sure you have your own business plan

The interview is just as much for the candidate as it is the employer. It's an opportunity for you to find out if the organisation will offer you the challenge and satisfaction you are looking for. Think about the skills and qualifications you can offer their business and tailor your responses accordingly.

Travel and timing

It goes without saying that a punctual start is key to impressing a potential employer. Make sure you leave plenty of time to travel to the venue and allow extra time for delays. Take the Ann Pettengell phone number with you so you can let us know if you will be late due to unforeseen circumstances.

At the interview

Remember that your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Make sure you are polite, friendly and approachable to everyone you meet.

Give the interviewer(s) a firm handshake upon arrival, while maintaining eye contact and smiling.

Possible questions you may be asked

Tell me about yourself?     
Talk for about one or two minutes. Make sure you cover the following areas: education, work experience and recent career history.  

What do you know about our company?   
Make sure you’re armed with some facts. Research their key products, size, income, reputation, image and company aims and objectives.

What skills can you offer our business?
They are looking for someone who stands out, so mention skills and experiences that your competitors may not have.

Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses
Talk about the career achievements that will present you in the best light. When addressing weaknesses, make sure to convey that you recognise your weaknesses, but you’re working on improving them. For example, “I needed to improve my presentation and public speaking skills, so I attended a workshop to learn how to deliver professional information in client presentations more effectively.”

You will nearly always be asked if you have any questions by the interviewer. Always have something prepared for if you are asked.


CV template

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    Your CV should reflect your individuality, but it's best to conform to certain expectations. Employers often have many CVs to look at, so you need to ensure yours is easy to read and stands out for the right reasons.

    Our template can help you structure your CV effectively, ensuring you include the important info whilst still expressing yourself.


Temp toolkit

Our temp toolkit is for candidates on temporary assignments. We have provided a selection of downloadable forms and documents to support you.

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    Temporary staff frequently asked questions

    Useful guidance and advice for you to get the most out of your temporary work with us

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    Timesheet

    Please use this form to accurately record your time while working with us

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    Holiday request form

    Please request your holiday at least one week prior to the commencement date and make sure your client contact is aware and has agreed the time off

  • Download

    New starter checklist

    As a new employee your employer needs the information on this form before your first payday to tell HMRC about you and help them use the correct tax code