A CV is often your first chance to make a good impression. It should be relevant and tailored to the opportunity you are applying to and should showcase your skills, experience and knowledge. 

Our Top CV Hacks for you

#1 Make it relevant

Employers tell us ‘skills based’ CVs work best. This means detailing the skills you possess that are relevant to that opportunity and clearly evidencing where you have used and developed these. Find out more about evidencing your skillsIf you’d like to develop your skills further, find out about Dundee Plus.

Space denotes importance on a CV – so give plenty of space to your key achievements and push less relevant things further down the page. For example, make sure your current degree is given plenty of space. Use reverse chronological order so that your most recent experiences come first.  

#2 Make it appealing 

A clear, professional format usually works best. Think about your formatting and ensure you are consistent in use of fonts. Research shows employers take less than 30 seconds to make an initial judgement on your CV. So try to avoid large chucks of text and think about using bullet points and bold appropriately.  

Traditional, professional CVs in the UK don’t include photos or many images and use colour very sparingly. However, in more creative industries such things may be the norm – so do your research and find a format that works for you.  

Employers are sticklers for detail, so take great care with things like spelling and grammar.  

#3 Make it work for you 

It’s your CV so don’t feel like you have to include headings that aren’t appropriate to you. Steer clear of CV templates and create a CV that’s just for you.

Watch our video for even more Top CV hacks.

Your CV should be personal to you but there are a number of helpful rules that you can apply to make your CV effective. 

In the UK it is standard for a CV to be 2 pages of A4. Certain information that must be included: 

  • Name and contact details 

  • History of Education 

  • Work Experience 

  • Evidence of skills 

Outside of this there is more personal scope to be creative with your content but the following infographic highlights effective structurelayout and content for a CV. 


Image of A N Other CV

CV Content Infographic

Here are some examples of different types of CV.

The most effective CVs are highly tailored to suit the sector and roles you are applying for.

This video explains how and why to tailor your CV. 

You’ll usually send your CV along with a covering letter or covering email. This is your opportunity to tailor your application directly to the opportunity you’ve applied for and highlight the most relevant aspects of your CV.   

Applying Overseas

Depending on where you apply, you may find some of the norms and conventions of UK CVs are not applicable. For example, in much of Northern American, a short 1-page resume is required by most employers.

The Careers Service’s GoinGlobal is a great resource to help you get started with preparing or adapting your CV for use in the country to which you are applying. 

Your existing networks (family, friends, previous university staff etc.) may also be a great help to you when trying to figure out what works in the countries in which they live.

You can also check out the Country Profiles on Prospects and TARGETjobs. Our Careers Advisers will be happy to provide you with feedback on your CV/resume, wherever you are applying.

If you would like your CV checked you can ask a careers adviser.