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Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.

There is no such thing as The Perfect CV.   If you talk to 100 different people, you will get 100 different opinions.  I have worked as a headhunter for 25 years.  I have seen literally thousands of CVs.  And I have read at least 10 books on how to write a CV.  Even so, I can guarantee that if I were to write your CV in what I believe to be the most effective format, you could probably find several people who told you they thought it was rubbish and needed complete re-writing.

The obsession that job hunters have with crafting the perfect CV stems, I think, from the hope that they can make a ‘magic bullet’ which, on its own, will be sufficient to open doors, win interviews and bag a job.  Unfortunately there has been plenty of research conducted to show that CV submissions alone lead to a job in less than 1% of cases.

CVs in fact play a relatively minor role in the overall job hunt; there are far more important things you could be doing to find a job than endlessly polishing your CV.   The covering letter, for example, is in many ways much more important for new graduates;  and networking is more important for more experienced job seekers.  For really senior people, the CV comes more or less as an afterthought – it is written by the headhunter quite late in the overall Search process.

And yet…

Whilst a great CV will not be sufficient to get you a job, unfortunately a poor CV will be enough to kybosh your chances.  There are some pretty basic things you can do to improve your chances.

I’m going to set out some of those below.

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Author: Rupert Reed Last edited 5th January 2021

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