CVs are an art form.

It’s not just about getting the length right (please don’t let it be longer than two pages!), it’s the balance of white space, the layout, the readability, and not just what it says but how it says it.

A CV full of typos will contradict your proclamations of having great attention to detail and excellent writing skills.

CVs aren’t read and processed the same way they were 10 years ago. There are more people going for the same job as you, and employers have less time to study each CV. You can’t rely on old-fashioned CV templates any more.

It’s time for an update.

The Summary

The old fashioned way to start a CV was with an objective. To us this seems redundant given every applicant has the same objective – being offered a job!

A well-written summary at the top is far more useful.

Research shows that recruiters spend 6-8 seconds reviewing a CV before they decide whether it is suitable for a vacancy or not (of course here at Opus we spend far longer than that!) So keep in mind that the recruiter/employer/HR manager will probably have decided if you’re suitable for the job or not, by the time they have finished reading the summary.

It needs to sum you up in a nutshell. In no more than four sentences let the world know why you are the best person for the job by describing your relevant skills and experience. Remember you can tailor this section to each job application.

Skills to pay the bills

Listing your skills is a great way of highlighting your best attributes, and will likely be much more relevant than your employment history if you have changed careers in the past.

It is also a good way to get relevant keywords in (more about that below!)

This doesn’t have to be a lengthy section. Just include your top selling points, to reinforce to employers why you are the right person for the job.

Keep it relevant

When you left school your CV probably told us your date of birth and favourite hobbies. CVs in 2021 don’t need to include this much detail. Save the space for selling who you are now.

Keep it concise

If you have worked in more than one sector, it might help to use subheadings of sectors to help translate your experience into an easy-to-read format that shows the full spectrum of your work history.

If you have a long employment history, then don’t worry about going back further than the last 10-15 years. Keep the jobs listed relevant to what you are doing now, if you need to trim it back.


Managers and recruiters might read your CV on a computer, tablet or even on their phone – so ensure that your CV is clear, concise and is legible on any device.

It doesn’t need to have fancy graphics that run the risk of becoming muddled when opened on different platforms.

No employer has time to read a 10-page CV crammed with text. Keep it concise, with plenty of white space on the sheet so it looks clear and well presented. And remember – keep your CV to no more than 2 pages!

Some companies use tracking systems on CVs, so make sure you are including all the right keywords. These will probably be the sort of words you see on the job adverts you are interested in, particularly relevant qualifications.

Get a second opinion

It doesn’t hurt to let a trusted friend look over your CV to make sure it reads as well as you think it does. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference!


Good luck with your job search. View our job opportunities here.