Getting a CV through the wringer

Page ones are repeatedly tested — not just once at each point in the *pipeline but over and over again at each point in the pipeline.

Bottom line: this is where to put most of your time, effort and focus.

Let’s cover what makes up page one.

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Your name
Place this at the top of page one in a larger font than any other content. The font size need not be huge, just make sure all other information is formatted smaller than your name. This will make it quick for people to quickly pull out your CV when they need it. Avoid using nicknames and there is no need to include middle names - neither will help you get interview invites.

Basic contact details
The minimum to include is your email address and main telephone number.

For broad appeal avoid email addresses that sound silly such as foxysmile@webaddress.com and stick to something that uses your name. Don’t use an existing employer email account either as this doesn’t show respect for boundaries between personal and company equipment.

Use a mobile number rather than landline so you are easier to contact.

Basic location details
Recruiters and employers have a preference for people already within commuting distance of their offices. If this is true for you then include such information by stating your postcode or state you are within commute distance.

If you are writing a CV for submission to a job board’s database then state the areas you are able to work in rather than just your postcode. Some databases pull out postcodes found at the top of CV documents and index this as the candidate’s location. You won’t be getting mail from the recruitment process so there’s no value in adding your full postal address.

The job requires you to relocate
A surprising number of candidates who apply for jobs requiring a relocation end up turning down offers when the reality of a relocation hits. Obviously this wastes everyone’s time and has encouraged recruiters and companies, in highly populated locations, to focus on locally-based applicants. So, consider vacancies, when they are not local to you, very carefully. 

Your current & recent employment history
The section forms the main content of page one. Take time and check you include all the appropriate keywords when covering your job responsibilities and achievements.

For each of your positions include:

  • Job title
  • Company name
  • Start date
  • End date for previous jobs
  • Responsibilities and achievements while in role

If a company isn’t a household name add two or three words to describe its products, services or market.

Enter each promotion you achieved at a company as a separate entry with it own job title and dates to draw attention to such progress. Place bullet points under headings such as responsibilities and major achievements.

It’s perfectly reasonable to dedicate page one to your most recent company and leave historic positions to page two.

Use bullet points to list responsibilities and achievements at each company. Include 3-6 points for recent jobs and include fewer points for older positions. If a company changed its name after you left, use its new name — this will help web searches.

All CV tips