How to write a successful CV2022-06-22T12:41:16+01:00

A rewarding career is just a few steps away once you’ve found the perfect role for you. We asked those responsible for sifting through your CVs, our Human Resources function, for guidance on how to make sure yours stands out.

All DE&S vacancies are filled following a CV interview, therefore in order to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed in our recruitment process, it is important that you submit a good quality CV. This is the first chance to sell yourself to us and and show that you are suitable for the advertised role.

Many people possess a CV which is often generic but we strongly recommend that you tailor your CV to the job advert, making sure that it highlights your relevant and/or transferable skills. Write as clearly and concisely as possible, ensuring acronyms are spelled out and any niche references are explained.

An effective CV will convince us that you:

  • Are competent, skilled and talented
  • Have the ability to succeed
  • Can demonstrate achievements and accomplishments
  • Are motivated to deliver and committed to continuous improvement
  • Have problem solving skills and are innovative
  • Are a good team player

A young man in a white shirt and blue tie laughs while being inteviewed 2-3 pages simple clear and direct language up to date don't be generic Write your CV: tailor to job advert

Once you’ve submitted your application, we’ll review your CV to see if your qualifications and experience are a good match for the advertised role.

It’s important to take note of the comments and suggestions we’ve made below to give yourself the best chance of being successful during our CV review process.

The particular elements within the CV that we focus on during the sift process are:

Personal profile

This is your introduction to us. You should use this area to give a brief background of yourself. It is good practice to include your current role, at least one professional accomplishment and a summary of your main skills and qualities against the job description, in order to create a positive impression.

Key achievements

An achievement should be something that’s quantifiable. Employers love to read key achievements, but they are especially interested in the impact and outcome for the organisation and yourself, so make sure to include this on the Key Achievements section of your CV.

Consider what you’ve accomplished: What situation did you face and what were the tasks? How did you approach it and what actions did you take? What was the result?

This is the opportunity to showcase your successes, how you exceeded targets or went above and beyond what is expected of you. What was challenging and significant? Between three and five examples are best practise.

Relevant experience

List your job/professional experience (starting with your present job and working back in time), highlighting to what extent they demonstrate your suitability for the advertised role. Include:

  • Job title, employer’s name and dates of employment
  • Your main activities and responsibilities within that role (particularly if its relevant to the advertised role)
  • The main skills you used, which should be linked and relevant to the job advert

Write small paragraphs for each role and briefly explain any career gaps.

Applied knowledge and skills

This is your opportunity to really promote the skills and knowledge you gained in one role or activity and applied in others you’ve held. If you have unique skills that will help you stand out from other candidates, please include them.

We recommend using bullet points to list these skills, accompanied by a brief explanation about how you acquired this skill and any recent tasks or events where you have used it.

Review the job description to identify the specific qualities we’re looking, for so you can match these with your experience. There needs to be enough information in this section to help us understand if your skills and experience are relevant and transferable to the advertised role.


List your professional memberships and academic qualifications in reverse chronological order (most recent first), ensuring you have included those that are relevant to the advertised role.

In addition to the essential areas required, your CV should also include the following:

Additional capabilities

Do you have interests that carry responsibility in your personal life that highlight leadership, organisational and communications skills? Any activities or hobbies outside your scope of work? Perhaps you’re a volunteer, school governor, a scout or guide leader? Remember these examples need to show skills that could be transferable to the role.

There are many activities you could list here but this is a final opportunity to make a positive impression on us.

Top tips for writing a good CV

  • Include your name, phone number and email address
  • Keep it simple and concise – a good CV should be no longer than 2-3 pages of A4 with clear headings
  • Understand the job advert and tailor your CV accordingly
  • Ensure it’s easy to pick out the key information using active language that is clear and direct – use assertive, positive language (action words) such as ‘developed’, ’organised’ or ‘achieved’
  • Write details in reverse chronological order
  • Most importantly, proof-read your CV. It should not contain spelling mistakes, punctuation or grammatical errors. Spellcheckers can help with this. First impressions count so the CV should look professional.

What our recruiters say

“The main points we look for are formatting, clear and easy-to-read information, and being concise and relevant to the post being applied for (as opposed to sending out generic CVs for every job role). The Talent Acquisition team initially pre-sift CVs against the essential criteria, so these elements need to be clearly highlighted in your CV. During the sifting process, your CV will then be scored against your key achievements, relevant experience, applied skills and knowledge. It’s important you emphasise your skills and make them easy to identify, avoiding long paragraphs. Try to include extra-curricular activities that highlight a relevant aptitude or talent, for example if they demonstrate strengths in leadership, organisation, or communication.”

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