The visual presentation of your CV can determine whether employers will even read it, let alone invite you for an interview. Even the best candidates are often let down by the visual presentation of their CV.

Your CV is intended to outline your skills and abilities to potential employers and differentiate you from other candidates. A strong CV enables you to make a good impression on a potential employer and boosts your chances of getting an interview so it’s important to take the time to consider the content and overall presentation.

So, what should a stellar CV look like?


Keep it short and to the point. Ideally, your CV should not really be any longer than two A4 pages. Keep the information logical and in date order with more recent experience at the top. Include basic personal information at the beginning of your CV but don’t go overboard.

You don’t have to provide your gender or your date of birth or even photographs, although this may differ in other jurisdictions.

Typically name, email and telephone number are sufficient, just enough to allow the HR person make contact with you and invite you for an interview.

Personal Profile

Include a personal profile at the beginning. A personal profile is a short introductory paragraph which will give potential employers an overview of who you are.

Employers want to hear what you can bring to a firm and this is the place to do it. It’s the first thing a prospective employer will see so take the time to get it right. If there’s no evidence of important skills, its likely they won’t continue reading and will simply move on to the next CV.


Keep it real. If the information is on your CV, you will get asked about it by an interviewer. Know your CV, every aspect of it; from your academic history to your work experience to your other interests.

Employers are not just looking for someone ‘technically’ capable of doing a role.  They also want candidates who will fit with the overall culture of the firm so they will dig deep into all aspects of your CV.

I am always amazed at the number of candidates who are ‘avid’ readers but are unable to discuss the current book they are reading!


Tailor your CV for each and every role you apply for.

Read the job description carefully, identify the skills required by the prospective employer and highlight them prominently on your CV. If you don’t possess the exact required skillset, consider how your current skillset can apply to the role being applied for.

Spelling and Grammar

Read and then read again to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors. Even better, ask someone else to read it for you.

All too often, HR managers read a claim of ‘excellent attention to detail’ on a CV – which is great, except when it’s littered with spelling and grammar mistakes.

While these types of errors might seem insignificant, they can result in your CV being disregarded.

To learn more about Dearbhla Gallagher, Learning & Development Manager, visit her LinkedIn profile here.

Read more: Trends, Insights & Approaches to Learning and Development