• Phil G

Writing a Killer C.V

A nationwide survey of HR Directors and Managers has concluded that CVs are failing to make the grade. The survey, designed and carried out by CMC and Senior Associate John Lees, produced some thought-provoking results which we thought to share with you:

46% of employers believe that 1 in 10 people lie about qualifications in their CV;

1 in 10 employers believe that 40% of people lie generally

CMC’s Managing Director, Robin Wood, comments:

“We’ve discovered that there are still too many unfocused, distracted and off-putting CVs hitting employers’ desks, and a great many CVs that do not entirely tell the truth.”

royall specialises in providing talent for all levels of recruitment requirements and is extremely well placed to advise those looking for new roles as to what works, and what doesn’t. If you are unsure just get in touch and ask!

The survey’s author John Lees says:

“Even good C.V’s often fail to communicate the right message and ensure that people are presenting themselves in person as they do on paper. Consistency is key! This survey shows there is an art to getting through that first ‘sift’. More than anything else it’s about two things: the initial impact on page one of your CV, and making a short but credible claim that you match the key requirements of the job.”

Some key results:

88% of employers prefer to see a short profile or summary on page one of a C.V.

85% of employers do NOT want a photograph with a C.V.

Of those who expressed a view, 96% dislike C.V’s written by professional C.V writing services

Two thirds of HR specialists believe that a C.V should be no more than two pages long

The best CV’s are simple, clear, uncluttered and concise. A well-crafted C.V can create a powerful first impression, an outstanding C.V is one that provides concise information about your experience, skills and education and is tailored specifically to the post for which you are applying.

Keeping it to two pages is a myth if you are at a senior level and have decent work experience to portray. If it’s an interesting read and it’s in a clear format it won’t matter if it continues to three or even four pages, but always keep a record of any project work, events managed, or creative work on a separate addendum or portfolio.

A C.V shouldn’t be simply a list of skills and experiences, it should illustrate who you are, your personal attributes, your drivers and motivators, goals and ambitions as well as key achievements.

Use quantifiable, statistical data to illustrate your experience where at all possible. If you have managed budgets, what were the minimum/maximum? If you managed staff, how many and what were their roles? If you generated revenue or contributed to growth show this figuratively.


This should be an overview of your skills, competencies, and experience in brief – not a long list of what words describe you best. If you only had this profile to summarise your experience and what you are capable of what would you say. Decide on an objective that can be summed up in one sentence on your application. Remember that a long and protracted statement suggests that you lack clarity and direction.


Nowadays education is usually at the end of the CV. List your academic qualifications and grades in chronological order and your non-academic too. You can always state your graduate or any other professional status in your profile summary.

Employment History:

Always start with your current or most recent role; include the job title and employer, employment from and to dates, a brief introduction of your position, your main responsibilities and principal achievements and ideally a reason for leaving.


These are your day to day working responsibilities. List them in order of importance and be commercial, use as much statistical information as possible and where appropriate use examples.

Principal Achievements:

Your day to day responsibilities are what you do, and what is expected of you. They do not set you out from the crowd, especially in this competitive market. You need to make a list of career achievements. Numbers are important as words here and if you can be commercial and display cost savings, or sales successes when you not a sales person this is where you can really shine. Make your C.V as quantifiable as possible. Show how you solved workplace problems and what the results were. Innate personality abilities are as important as vocational skills.


It is not expected for these to be listed on your CV.


Detail any other relevant information, including your personal interests and achievements, i.e. Captain of Rugby Team, London Marathon, Charity Volunteer etc.


This is a great way to display event/project management experience in chronological order and in a consistent fashion making quick referencing easing for the reader. Contact royall for a sample event addendum template.

Portfolio’s / Links:

If applying for a creative role most employers expect to see examples of creative work, either online or in a hardcopy portfolio, try and always keep detailed and concise examples of what you have done in the past.


In the world of internet searching your C.V needs to be literally peppered with key words to enable it to be found. Recruiters often use recruitment sites such as Event Job Search, Monster and Reed and they need to be able to find you as easily as possible. The better your key wording (SEO) then the higher up the list of potential candidates you will come. If you are an Account Manager then ensure all the related and associated phrases and keywords are on your C.V:

Account Manager, Account Management, Client Services Manager, Senior Account Manager, Project Manager, Client Services, Senior Account Coordinator.

A really useful tip is to write the keywords as a list as above at the bottom of your C.V and turn the type white so that it cannot be seen, this will really boost your keywords and ensure that you get them all in!

Maximising the impact of your C.V and preparing thoroughly for interview are two areas of the recruitment process that you can influence. In a competitive marketplace you need to capitalise on every opportunity to set yourself apart. Give royall a call, we’d happily cast an expert eye over your C.V. 01243 200077


We are focussed. We get involved.

Engage with us!

01243 200077

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Royall Appointments Limited 

St Johns House

St Johns Street


West Sussex

PO19 1UU

Registered in England and Wales

Company No 0684 5660