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Sunday, 29th November 2020

Advice from the experts

CV advice

You've got approximately 20 to 30 seconds to convince a potential employer that your CV is worth reading. So what makes a CV irresistible?


Never annoy your reader by making your CV difficult to read. Sounds obvious, but if your CV is badly laid out, contains gimmicky graphics, is four pages long and bright fucia, it may be memorable - but for all the wrong reasons!

  • Try to keep your CV to no more than two sides of A4. Though if this means resorting to an illegible type size, then better to extend it to a third page but only if this is absolutely necessary

  • Use plain blank paper and a good quality printer. You may want to use coloured paper if you think this is appropriate but bear in mind that your CV may need to be photocopied when it reaches its destination

  • Use a simple font and avoid graphics. Gimmicky presentation may give the impression that you feel your content is weak and that you are trying to mask it in some way. It could also detract from some seriously good information

  • Keep sentences short and punchy. Long paragraphs and sentences are more difficult to read and absorb quickly. Concise wording will show you are no-nonsense and to the point

  • If you have a lot of information to put across, bullets or numbers can break it up

  • Spell check for errors!


Don't be afraid to customise your CV for each job you apply for. Targeting and appropriateness of message are precisely what direct marketing is all about, so where better to start than your CV. Any prospective direct marketing employer worth his of her salt will notice and it can only stand you in good stead.

So do your homework. Find out as much as you can about the company and the role for which you are applying, think about what the employer is looking for, then make sure that you emphasise the appropriate areas in your CV.


If you think that because you're fresh out of college you've got no experience to offer, then in most cases you couldn't be more wrong!

Employers don't necessarily always look for direct experience in the role advertised. What is often more important (and is almost always the case with graduate vacancies) is that you can demonstrate some key qualities that will make you right for the job.


Many jobs in direct marketing are open to graduates of any discipline, so if you graduated in a subject other than direct marketing, marketing or business management, then make sure you hone in on the skills you have developed either on your course or through extra-curricular activities. Some of the main skills employers look for in graduates are:


  • Ability to work as part of a team

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Motivation

  • Enthusiasm

  • Flexibility

Alternative CVs

In some circumstances, doing it differently could send you to the top of the must-see list; in others it could knock you out of the running. Think carefully. If you are confident that there is a good reason for submitting an alternative approach, and that the approach you are considering is appropriate, then be bold and do it. You're not applying for a job in direct marketing for nothing!

And finally did you know? CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, from the Latin "the course of one's life".

OK, that's the theory lesson. Now all you need to do is put it all into practice! Good luck! arrow

CV and Interview tips

See our essential hints and tips on putting your CV together, making an impact at an interview and choosing the right career path. Watch the online video clips to find out exactly what the experts look for during an interview. It could land you that first job!


Read our glossaries to find out everything you need to know about marketing companies and job roles.

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