How to write a CV

The new year may have brought with it the desire to step into a new challenge, according to HR News an impressive two in five Brits (41%) admit to using the new year as a time to look for new jobs. A figure which jumps to a staggering 58% for those aged between 18-34.

With this in mind, and with a combined experience of over 30 years in recruitment, we asked our own in-house resourcing experts to share their top CV tips…. you’re welcome!

It’s a personal thing

A CV is a very personal document and the reader can tell so much about you by the style, presentation and content of your document.  Many job boards or job sites encourage standardisation and a set format within a CV, but you should always individualise and give your document character. You need the CV to stand out. “Think of your CV as a sales document, selling you”, says Victoria, Head of Resourcing at Great Annual Savings (GAS). “Would you ‘buy’ this person based on what you read?” Your answer must be a resounding (unbiased) yes!  And where possible, always avoid sending a CV that a job board has created for you. Make sure it’s your own CV that the recruiter receives”.

Be relevant

“The key to a great CV is striking the right balance. You need to present yourself well and showcase your greatest strengths, but you also need to remain relevant to the position you are applying for,” says Natalie Carson, Resourcing Business Partner at GAS.

“Look at the job description, and make sure it’s crystal clear to the recruitment team why you are applying for this role, and what you can deliver. When I receive a CV it can take as little as 30 seconds of reading to judge whether or not the candidate is suitable to progress to the next stage. Ideally, we want to see an introductory paragraph or a few sentences that at a glance confirm your suitability to our role”.

State achievements, not responsibilities

“Responsibilities are pretty predictable when looking at a candidate’s job history and job title, what is less predictable are key achievements. Focus on tangible achievements under each role always trying to add values and volumes plus timeframes to each achievement, such as sales and revenue delivered to what level and in what timescale, customer retention rates and customer satisfaction scores are all relevant for sales related roles,” advises Victoria.

Paragraphs or bullet points?

Again, the style you adopt is a personal preference, but Natalie believes it’s much easier and quicker to digest and appreciate the content of a CV if the duties or achievements are in bullet points. “Wading through paragraphs of text, perhaps with poor punctuation, is time consuming and turns the reader off” reiterates Natalie.  “Equally”, she adds, “I love to see the CV written in the 3rd person, rather than using the first person”.

Keep it short, and 2 pages only?

“It’s a myth that a CV should only be 2 pages”, believes Victoria. A CV should be concise but fully accurate and cover all your work experience/career to date. That said, you can reduce irrelevant job roles or periods of time to just one line, but never fabricate dates or try to merge periods of employment. “We want a full and true picture of your career, not half the story!  And if you’ve made your CV eye catching, individual and punchy, we will want to keep reading becoming more and more interested about what we see!”


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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.