How to write a winning CV

How good is your CV? If you’re actively looking for a new job or simply open to the right career move, make sure you have a well written, up to date CV prepared. Did you know that some employers spend less than nine seconds scanning each CV? It’s therefore vital you make your CV easy to read and on point.

In this article, based on my 20+ years’ recruiting for the automotive industry, I’ll give you straightforward advice on how to make your CV attractive to employers and recruiters and maximise your chances of getting an interview.



My candidates often tell me the’ve been told their CV should be no more than 2 pages. I believe this can be limiting and that the length of your CV will depend on the amount of experience and jobs you have had. That said, your main aim should be to make your CV easy to read and totally relevant for the job you are applying for, so I advise you:

  • Use bullet points
  • Avoid long paragraphs
  • Focus on the most relevant experience and skills
  • Include less information for less relevant or less recent roles.

Create your CV in a medium that matches the type of role you are applying for. Above all, your CV needs to be clear, easy to read and logical. Use consistent fonts and keep they style and typeface sizes consistent throughout your CV.  See our free downloadable CV templates at the end of this article.

Tailor it.

It’s very imporant to check and edit your CV before you make a job application and ensure it’s as relevant as possible for that particular job. Make sure you cross-check your CV against the job description or job advert and list all relevant skills and experience. Equally you may want to delete less relevant experience, skills or information.


Contact details

As a minimum your CV should include your name, email address, mobile number and your general location. If you don’t want to give your full address at the least put your town, city or county. Use an email address that you regularly monitor. You may also want to give a link to your LinkedIn profile.


Adding a photo is down to personal preference. If you choose to add a photo make sure it’s a professional looking head and shoulders shot. I’d suggest keeping it small and positioning it at the top of your CV alongside your name..

Personal statement

You can add a short personal statement at the beginning of your CV giving an overview of yourself or highlighting your relevant experience for the role you are applying for. But my advice is to keep this short and punchy – no more that about 6 lines.


It’s a good idea to list your key skills – but make sure you can provide evidence to back them up. Use a bullet point list and make sure they are relevant to the specifice job you’re applying for.

Career history

List your career history in reverse chronological order (most recent job first) and include:

  • Name of your employer (including a brief description of what the business does – if they are not well known)
  • Your job title
  • The dates of employment (include month and year and using ‘present’ if currently still employed)
  • List your main responsibilities – list these using bullet points, providing short and concise information on key tasks undertaken in your role. Try to keep to a maximum of 6 to 8 responsibilities
  • For each job role, list some achievements. This is your best way of evidencing your abilities. Keep these factual, concise, specific and measurable. Using numbers / percentages to demonstrate your achievements against targets is very effective
  • Use the present tense for your current role and the past tense for any previous roles
Education and qualifications..

List your educational history in reverse chronological order. Give more detail on the highest level of qualification you have achieved. Remember to include dates and the establishment you studied at. This section may also include any professional development experiences, such as courses attended and membership to any relevant professional body.

Personal Information

Adding some information about your hobbies and interests is optional. It’s more useful for those in the early stage of their career who have less work experience to add. If you choose to add this, keep it fairly brief.

Crosscheck with your LinkedIn Profile

Once you have written your CV make sure it is consistent with your LinkedIn profile. Employers are very likely to look at this too. For further help see: HOW TO USE LINKEDIN TO FIND A JOB.

Top 3 CV Writing Tips

In summary, my top CV writing recommendations are:

  • Make is clear, concise and easy to read
  • Tailor it to each job you apply for
  • Include factual evidence of your skills, abilities and achievements

Download our CV templates.

CV Template 1 CV Template 2 CV Template 3

Further Reading

Career Checklist

Time For a New Job?

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