The MHR Guide to a Top CV

Embarking into the wilds of the job market can be difficult at the best of times. The search for pastures new is often fraught and full of unknowns. A top CV, as you will know, can unlock many opportunities. However, a poor one can lead to falling at the first hurdle.  

Fortunately, ensuring success from the start is only a blog away!

Armed with the secrets of the industry, and harnessing the inside scoop on what recruiters are really looking for could deliver that big career move a lot sooner than you thought possible.

Here are our top tips to take your CV to the next level:

So what do recruiters look for in a CV?

A tailored application.

Put simply, this is the most important trick to CV writing; pick and appeal to the role you are applying for.

Using templates or relying on a past version saved to the boondocks of Word may require less effort, but the more you tailor and detail your CV – the more you will standout to prospective employers.

On average, hiring managers will only glance at your CV for an initial nine seconds, so being clear and concise is essential. List key achievements, experience and precise abilities to demonstrate your suitability for the role and its requirements.

Remember organisations hire candidates to carry out specific functions, so make the effort to narrow your focus and remove any information that will not add value to an application – the harder it is to decipher, the less likely you are to progress to interview.

How can you make your CV stand out?

Presentation, presentation, presentation. 

Be flawless with formatting and presentation. Competition in today’s job market is to such a standard that a poor layout or even one tiny mistake can undermine your CV and have recruiters doubting your credibility.

Display your professionalism and attention to detail with excellent grammar and written skills; communication, after all, is an integral part of any job!

A personal statement is a perfect way to exemplify this and make an instant impact. Capture attention by illustrating the role criteria through your skill set, experience and key achievements to quantify your value to the recruiter.

Always highlight your professional qualifications - employers often invest heavily in recruitment and training - so foresight of this return is what they are ideally looking for. Bear this in mind and evidence your worth from beginning to end.

Don’t be afraid to be creative

It is more than likely that you are one of many hopefuls vying for the same role, so expression and creativity can go a long way.

Employee empowerment and resourceful attitudes are refreshingly modern in most organisations, so do not be afraid to deviate from traditional routes of recruitment and communication. Connecting with a recruiter on LinkedIn or phoning to confirm a submission are great ways to stand out and be professionally ‘creative’ with your approach to an application. This could lead to lasting impressions that help cement your place as a leading candidate.

While the above can all be true, it is definitely not a good idea to produce a CV with anything other than a standard font and sizing. After all, you want your presentation and content to be taken seriously.


Creativity shouldn't extend to your email address. If you are unconvinced whether your longstanding is appropriate, then it is probably best to make a fresh one just to be safe. Trust us.


If you are a Recruiter or HR Manager reading this for guidance with applicants, why not read our Tips for Hiring the ‘Right’ Staff to help you further.