Many women have contacted the BCSWomen e-group for advice on job hunting and CVs. We have recognised the need for advice and feedback from peers so we have set up a team of BCSWomen volunteers that want to help other women and share their knowledge and experience.

The team will provide advice and suggestions on CVs and covering letters exclusively for BCSWomen. Feedback will be passed back to the requester and recurring themes will be posted on the website.

However, there is a lot that you can do to help yourself, so before you submit a CV for review, please do check the following simple stuff...

File name – something relevant with your name in it, so that it can be easily referenced.

1. Your name

  • at the top in font larger than any other in the document (16pt should be enough).
  • simple and clear – what you are called, followed by your legal surname. Unless you are applying to the MOD or police you do not need your full legal name. The only exception is if you have a VERY common name and would like to stand out a bit. (Mary A Smith, Mary Auralia Smith).
  • in small font on the header or footer of subsequent pages, with the page number. When printed it makes life easier for the HR / agency – people you also need to impress.

2. Your contact details

  • not just a mobile, but at least an email address – how will they send you the job spec, interview map?
  • at least the town in which you live – this will allow an agency to target jobs
  • look at your email address. is NOT going to cut it; is not going to get you that management role.

3. Post-nominals

  • a large number of jobs are looking for graduates, so make it obvious, e.g Mary Smith, BSc(Hons), MBCS, MCSE
  • large is not necessary
  • don’t forget your BCS – promoting both us and your membership – and if you are not a Uni graduate, your CITP is possibly a higher qualification than you learned. If you are looking for a tech job then CCNA etc are instant identification

4. Fonts

Something simple and readable – do not go smaller that Arial 10

5. Space

Neither too much or too little – crowded pages can put you straight on the NO pile, but wide columns with just a date range make your CV run over too many pages.

6. Capitals

  • random and inconsistent capitalisation suggests lack of literacy. Check.
  • for that software and jargon make sure you have it right. SQL not Sql.

7. Jargon

As to jargon, the automatic search criteria will be looking for what the customer has specified, so make sure that you widen your appeal with the generic, as well as the specific, e.g CRM(MS Dynamics), EDRM (SAP)


Be sure that any jargon you are using is well understood and not hiding your intentions, e.g “looking for a C-level position” – can mean any number of levels and disciplines. If you want to be a CIO, then say so.

8. Instant appeal

Name, qualifications, first 10 words may be all that are read so make them count.

9. Who are you

It should be easy at a glance to scan down the roles that you have had – make sure they are bold to stand out for skim reading

10. Continuity

It should also be easy to see continuity of employment over the last 3-5 if you are not a recent post-graduate. But the roles are more important than the dates, so should follow.

11. Your employer

This is necessary, but unless you are looking for an industry specific role, much less important. Leave out the long explanation of what THEY do. It can be detrimental if you slot yourself into an industry, or a sector. The work that you did should identify relevance.

12. Spelling

Do NOT rely on Microsoft, it will turn your jargon to mush; it will accept the wrong word out of context; it will not mind random punctuation.

13. Remove the following:

  • “Name:”, “Address:” – I am not stupid, I can see what they are
  • “References available on request” of course they are! In fact, any reference information, unless you are name dropping somebody famous, known in your specialism, or works for the company to whom you are applying.
  • “Gender”, and “Sex”
  • Nationality – you only bring up the side issue of your right to work here and distract from your skills by even mentioning it. At most, put it at the bottom if you are applying for a job only where it matters, along with your driving license and languages
  • Languages – if you are applying for a job in the UK or US, then there is no need to put that you speak fluent English, unless you are applying from another country, where it may not be assumed that you have it. You only draw attention to something that is not relevant.

And finally, and most importantly:

14. Does the CV tell me about YOU and what YOU did?

If you would like to take advantage of this service please email your CV (and covering letter) to Fran. Please let us know if you are targeting a specific position or just looking to generally revamp your CV.

If you would like to join the CV Advice team then please contact Fran.