Here is a checklist of do's, don'ts and tips on CV (resume) writing.

1. Layout

General rule of thumb is a CV should be a maximum of 2 pages. With the following headers


Summary statement

Current Position

Achievement (current position)

Previous Roles/Employment

Achievements (previous roles)

Education/Qualifications incl PC, special qualifications.


2. Write in 3rd person

Avoid the use of 'I' statements.  I believe, I think, I feel, merely states your opinion, and the recruiter is looking for evidence of what you have done, not what you believe or think.  Instead use phrases like Responsible for.., or Lead a team...., Accountable for..... Managed..... Created...... etc etc

3. Attention to detail

Make sure your CV looks the part.  Align text, neaten things by using tables, don't allow text to spread onto the next page.  These will put off the recruiter.  Check out our word tips to help here if you are not sure.

4. Spell check

Spell chekc everythihng, including company name, recruiter name.  Find out how to spell the company name, several companies I have worked for are particular about that.  Is the name all CAPITALS, Title Case, however they spell it you spell it the same!  Itz vry annoyign when peopel spel and type thngs incorectly!! (sic)

5. Proof read

A useful tip in proof reading is to read backward, from the last word to the top.  This way your brain will will not trick you into reading what you are trying to say, as opposed to to what you you type.  (sic) try on this sentence, spot the the mistakes?

6. Add achievements

Ensure you include achievements and responsibilities into you CV.

7. Use tables

If using Word to design you CV, it is helpful to use tables to organise your information more neatly.

8. Use the same font

Use the same font style and size throughout the CV main text, it is distracting if you mix font types.  Headers is less distracting, this applies to the main body of the CV.

9. Use Narrow margins

If you are looking for more space use narrow margins on the page setup to give you more space.

10. PDF your CV

It is best to PDF your CV so that the formatting you apply is protected, and looks how you designed it on the recipient's computer

11. Avoid jargon and abbreviations

Remember to spell out any abbreviations and limit the use of jargon, unless you know the recipient is familiar with it.

12. Use Plain English

Writers tend to over complicate their messages, adding in convoluted words, see what I mean!  Stick to simple language, for a clearer message.  The Plain English Website has useful guides to help with this. (opens in a new window)

About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!