Do it right: Jazz up your CV

Ensure that sheet of paper marks you out as a winner, not a straight-in-the-binner...

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Be concise. A stand-out CV doesn't mean a novella about how great you are.

Keep it brief, to the point and fuss-free; aim for just two pages. No-one cares about your life story, apart from your parents.

Don't rely on bullet-points. You may want to list your attributes like an airport departures board, but this can appear stark and robotic - and it's torture to read. Give an idea as to who you are, not just what you've done.

Identify your key skills. If you can rival Stephen Hawking in the maths department or sell fridges to the Inuit, make sure you drive this home.

Avoid gimmicks. A journalism graduate once presented his CV like the front page of a newspaper. He didn't get the job. Using neon paper or attaching your document to a bunch of musical helium balloons will get you noticed, but not for the right reasons.

Get a friend to proof-read. Ask your most literate chum to check through your CV. An independent eye can spot mistakes that you may not.

Write a good cover letter. This gives you more opportunity to sell yourself. Avoid standard website letters. Take time and care to write a memorable one-pager, using a formal yet friendly tone and explaining how your skills and experience are relevant to the position.

Don't lie. Gild the lily, yes, but outright untruths could cost you the job if you're caught out at the interview stage or later.

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