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Your CV is a simple way to show future employers the best of yourself, and building it is an ongoing process. As you gain new skills and experiences, your CV will expand to include all the talents which would be valuable to a new role. Stephen Waters, MD at Watershed, outlines some key ways to make your CV stand out to employers.

12 Top Tips for Perfecting Your CV

1. Keep it short: 3 pages maximum - a single page is plenty if you’re at the beginning of your career

2. Use a classic 12pt typeface on good quality plain paper (no curly scripts or eccentric fonts) Spend time on layout: use decent margins and spacing

3. Tailor it specifically to the job you’re applying for: there should be no such thing as your ‘standard CV’

4. Put the most important information on the first page because this is the one that gets the most attention. Don’t waste space with title pages or irrelevant personal details

5. Start with your present job and work backwards, writing more about it than earlier jobs. Give month and year details of changes.

6. Use the classic formula:

Page 1

Top: your name, home address, home phone, home e-mail (3 lines max)

Employment history: present job with list of attainments

Page 2

Previous jobs with lists of attainments

Qualifications with dates and awarding bodies, starting with most impressive and working backwards.

Personal interests: 2 lines are enough.

7. Omit anything irrelevant: e.g. school attended, religion, training courses, nationality, school qualifications, current salary - unless any of these are specifically asked for.

8. Keep to the truth especially where qualifications are concerned.

9. Describe your achievements as tangibly as possible – this is more important than your responsibilities. The emphasis is on outcomes not outputs.

10. Keep your language direct. Use dynamic verbs that will create an impression of enthusiasm and commitment.

11. Avoid qualifying words (hopefully, fairly, rather, very...)

12. Include a covering letter.

Writing a Cover Letter

Cover letters allow you to show employers your (professional) personality and can differentiate you from the crowd. This letter is a separate document to your CV, addressed to the employer, which should emphasize your interest in the job and the key skills you have that make you right for the role. It should also include your thoughts on the business you are applying to be part of, and what you like about them. You can be more creative than in your CV, but keep it concise, approximately 4-5 paragraphs.

Highlight Your Skills

When writing your CV, think about what managers will be looking for in your application, which is evidence of fundamental skills - usually divided into four skill sets:

(1) Self-awareness: Knowing your strengths and areas for development and having awareness of your impact on others.

(2) Initiative and self-motivation: Thinking on your feet, leading by example and sharing your passion with others

(3) Team work: Listening, team orientation and the ability to work well with others

(4) Communication: Social skills, friendliness with purpose and the ability to communicate clearly

Think about how to demonstrate these skills in the experience you include in your CV, in particular, your most recent experience.

As your career develops, most bars and restaurants these days will be seeking to continue your development with practical skills such as public speaking, performance management, communications, coaching and leadership.


Create your own CV now with our handy downloadable CV template:

Beyond the CV

There is more to a good CV than just writing it. Although your professional experience will be the most important element, your relevant qualifications and knowledge can also play a role in making you stand out.

Here are some resources to help you develop your career:

Key Takeaways: