How to Create a CV: Your Comprehensive Guide

Crafting the perfect CV is an art. Given that it’s often the first impression an employer gets of you, its importance can’t be overstated. If you’ve ever pondered over how to create a CV that stands out and tells your professional story effectively, this guide is for you.

What is a CV?

A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is a detailed document highlighting your professional and academic history. Typically used for job applications, a CV provides recruiters with an overview of your experience, qualifications, and skills. Essentially, it’s your professional biography.

The Evolution of CVs Over Time

Over the decades, the style and content of CVs have undergone considerable changes. Originally, CVs were straightforward, text-heavy documents. With advancements in technology and changing job market demands, they’ve evolved into more dynamic documents, often with elements of graphic design, links to online portfolios, or even personal websites.

What Should Your CV Focus On?

A modern CV should centre on your:

  1. Skills: Highlight the skills that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  2. Experience: Detail your professional journey, focusing on achievements rather than just roles.
  3. Qualifications: Showcase your academic and professional qualifications that make you suitable for the role.

Best Practices to Create a CV

  1. Be Concise: Ensure your CV is clear and to the point. Two pages are usually the recommended length.
  2. Tailor Your CV: Adapt your CV to match the requirements of each job you apply for.
  3. Use Action Words: Words like ‘achieved’, ‘managed’, and ‘designed’ can make your CV more dynamic.

Choosing the Right CV Format

The format you choose can play a vital role. The most popular formats include:

  1. Chronological: Lists your work history in order, starting with the most recent.
  2. Functional: Focuses on skills and qualifications rather than work history.
  3. Combination: A blend of both chronological and functional formats.

Making Your CV Stand Out

  1. Personal Profile: Begin with a compelling personal profile that summarises your key attributes.
  2. Achievements: Highlight notable professional achievements.
  3. Design: Use a clean layout, readable fonts, and consider using subtle colours.

Understanding ATS Systems

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software used by companies to sift through thousands of CVs to identify suitable candidates. To ensure your CV is ATS-friendly:

  1. Use Keywords: Incorporate keywords from the job description.
  2. Avoid Graphics: Many ATS systems can’t read images or graphics.
  3. Use a Standard Format: Stick to Word or PDF formats.

Common CV Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Spelling and Grammar Errors: These can make you seem careless or unprofessional.
  2. Being Vague: Be specific about your achievements and roles.
  3. Including Irrelevant Information: Your CV should be tailored to the role you’re applying for.

The Importance of Proofreading when you Create a CV

Always have someone else proofread your CV. A fresh pair of eyes can catch errors you might have missed and offer invaluable feedback.

The Debate: Are Cover Letters Extinct?

While the importance of cover letters has diminished in some sectors, many employers still value them. A well-crafted cover letter can provide context to your CV and further highlight your suitability for a role.

To Include or Not: Photo, DOB, and Address

Traditionally, CVs included personal details like photos, DOB, and addresses. However, modern best practices advise against this due to equality and discrimination laws. Unless specified, it’s best to omit these details.


Crafting an effective CV is a nuanced process. By understanding its evolution, focusing on the right aspects, ensuring ATS compatibility, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can create a CV that truly resonates with potential employers. Remember, your CV isn’t just a document; it’s a reflection of your professional self.


At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice and our CCS framework
please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.