A strong CV is one of your most important tools while searching for a new job. Without it, you will never get past the initial stage to interview. No matter how qualified you are, or how well suited to a potential role, if your CV doesn’t back that up, you will never get a chance to prove yourself to an employer. The devil is most definitely in the detail.

The entirety of your CV is important. It needs to represent you and convey your unique strengths and skills, in order to differentiate you from other potential candidates. There are a few small details that you might not notice, or may think irrelevant, that could actually be losing you opportunities.

The Devil is in the Detail – The Importance of a Strong CV


It might sound silly, but there are certain things that will discourage a potential employer when they see the file name of your CV. This is the first thing they will notice, and should be treated with as much care as your choice of interview outfit. Avoid things such as ‘final version’ or ‘v2’ etc. after your name.

designated PA

No one wants to get the impression it took you four attempts to perfect your CV. Leave out ‘CV’, ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or indeed every other variation. Keep it simple and professional, with your full name and the title of the job you’re applying for. This form of personalisation, correlating to the role applied for – will convey the impression that this is the only job for you.


Keep it standard. Something sharp and easy to read. Do not try to jazz it up with script, colours, images or anything similar, it will distract from the content. And get the size right; 10 to 12 is a good rule of thumb. Any smaller and your CV will look crowded and hard to read. Any larger and it will look as if you’re trying to fill space.

Avoid clichés

‘Team player’, ‘hard worker’, ‘motivated’ are all great buzzwords, but trust me, they will be on every other CV that the recruiter reads. Every. Single. One. So avoid clichés and only put in those skills and attributes you can prove.

Instead of ‘I am a team player’, you could write: ‘an example of when I have successfully worked in a team would be when [x], and this was a significant learning experience for me’. This will make your CV stand out from other applicants, and people will remember you.

File Format

Strong CV

Many people will send across a word document without thinking too much about it, but your CV should be sent as a PDF.

This has many associated benefits;

  1. The detail cannot be changed, and no extra letter can be added and later misconstrued as your error!
  2. The layout will not change. When you have a carefully laid out CV, having spent hours on spacing and margins, the last thing you want is for all that work to be wasted if the layout gets corrupted while on the move.

Don’t abbreviate

Even if it is an industry recognised abbreviation, always add entire words or phrases. This will avoid confusion, and ensure you don’t alienate someone who may not be an expert. Remember, it might not be the hiring manager who carries out the first review of CV’s.

Email address

Make sure it is sensible and professional. Your name should be all it needs to include. Don’t over complicate things with lots of dots and dashes. Don’t use anything that might come across as childish or silly. None of us are proud of our first email address, and an unprofessional impression could overshadow an otherwise perfect CV.

What to do with a strong CV?

Have you got a strong CV and are interested in joining the team at Designated PA? Submit your CV and we will be in touch.