Colour in your CV

We have always advocated not using colour in a CV as you run the risk of people having run out of ink or having a poor quality printer.

But we’ve had a change of heart on this one!

As printers have improved in quality, some colour can actually really improve a CV. It seems as well that people are far more diligent these days about keeping printers properly topped up with ink.

You still need to be careful though…

Don’t go overboard, keep it subtle so that presentation is enhanced and not overwhelmed (unless you are a graphic designer) and make sure that you use colours that will print well in black and white.


May sound a bit odd this, but you should avoid using capital letters in your CV.


Well there are 2 reasons.

Firstly it is a bit SHOUTY to use capital letters in any kind of electronic communication, and your CV will be seen (certainly in the 1st instance) on a screen.

Secondly, the default setting on Word is to ignore capitalised words when you run spell checker. Many people use capital letters for headings on a CV and we are all so reliant on spell checkers nowadays that any errors are all too easily missed.

Applying for Jobs

We have had a number of CVs sent in for review recently where we were able to say that they were actually pretty good CVs and not much needed doing to them.

The potential clients responded by asking “why aren’t I getting interviews then?”.

A good question, and once we  looked at what jobs they were applying for the answer was pretty obvious.

They were patently unsuited to the job, lacking the right skills and experience.

If you are not a close match to a job advert – don’t apply. It is a waste of time and energy and only leaves you feeling frustrated.

Answering Machines & Messages

If you are in the job market it is important that you make it as easy as possible for a recruiter or employer to contact you.

So make sure that you have:

1. An answering machine on your home number – you can use the free service from your phone provider such as 1571 from BT.

2. That your mobile has the answering machine set up.

If possible you should personalise any greeting with your name because the recruiter needs to be sure that they have left a message for the right person!

Identity Theft from CV Information

We have been asked by a number of clients about the risk of using on-line services in relation to identity theft.

The main issue that seems to concern people is that they are potentially putting a lot of private information into the public domain and how this can be used against them. In relation to your CV there is not a great deal to be worried about, provided you keep it to the same level of information that can be found on the electoral roll, namely:

Name – full name, though middle names are not essential.

Address – including postcode. The postcode is used by many of the on-line databases as a search reference point, so it is essential to put it on your CV.

Date of Birth – don’t try to hide your age, it’s generally counter-productive.

Don’t put your National Insurance number on there (we see this a lot from South Africans who have emigrated to the UK) or your mothers maiden name, or the name of your pet!

Another one to seriously avoid is putting your place of birth on your CV as this is frequently used as a security question by companies on the ‘phone and on-line.

CV Writing – Contact Details

This is a repetition of a previous post , but it is so important and so many people still get it wrong.

Make sure that you put the following on your CV:

1. Home telephone number

2. Mobile number

3. Home email address

We are still seeing a lot of CVs without this basic information. In fact some that get sent to us have no contact details on, and the only way we are able to contact people is by tracking back on the email address they used when uploading their CV!

Recruiters and employers need to be able to get hold of you quickly. Make life easy for them!

Contact Details

We see many CVs that lack comprehensive contact details.

You need to make sure that your CV has the following:

1. Home number.

2. Mobile number.

3. Personal (as opposed to work) email address.

Recruiters need to get in touch with you in a variety of different ways and you need to make it as easy as possible for them.

It’s also worth checking that your voicemail is set up correctly and is personalised – that way they will know they have got through to the right person.

Colour in a CV

On the face of it this is a good idea as it should make your CV stand out from the crowd.

BUT. What if the person printing your CV has not got a colour printer, or their colour cartridge has run out of ink?

How’s your CV going to look then?

Our advice is not to risk it. Use shades of grey to emphasise key areas but keep away from colours.

This may seem a minor point but it’s the small things that can really make a difference.