YOUR CV SUCKS. Change my mind!

YOUR CV SUCKS. Change my mind!

21 Apr 21:00 by Ben Cantrall


Every day for over 8 years of my life I have looked at CVs. Let’s lowball and say 20 a day, every day. 20x5x52x8 = enough to have an opinion. Most of them suck! Yours probably does too.

Save yourself the $350-700 a professional CV writer will charge you by reading the below and taking my personal opinions as gospel.

  1. Have a simple structure. An easy way to do this is to break each role down into Responsibilities and Achievements.
  1. Think about the questions you always get asked when interviewing and answer them! In sales, hiring managers want to know what your KPIs were, what your budgets were, what businesses/sectors you sold to, and, how you performed against your targets. Here’s an example of how this works with the structure above:

Recruitment consultant, Recruitmore, March 2015- Present


  • Full 360 recruitment role encompassing cold outreach to business, negotiating/agreeing terms of business, extracting quality job briefs, advertising/headhunting for candidates, screening and managing candidates through the interview process
  • Targeted sectors include technology (start up/scale up), contact centre and media
  • KPIs based on new contacts each month and a budget of $90k in sales each quarter


  • Exceeded targets FY18/19 (120%), FY17/18 (116%)
  • Hold the company record for biggest billing month and quarter
  • Responsible for bringing on 2 of the 3 biggest clients for the business


  1. Make it shorter. Shorter CVs are easier to read! Internal recruiters, as well as agency recruiters, see hundreds of CVs every week. Easy to digest information is more likely to be digested! How short? My personal recommendation is 2-3 pages.

On making it shorter, I’d lose references, big boxes, fonts or pictures. I’d also lend weight to my most recent and relevant roles and truncate the details of my first role working at the $2 shop “Bargain Basement” in Thornleigh 2002 (great place and I still remember my crush on Chelsea the deli girl across the plaza).


  1. Explicitly address concerns. If you have a short stint that is a contract, highlight the fact it’s a contract! You may have taken a career break and travelled (ahhh the good old days) from July 2018-March 2019… that’s great, just write it in! If you’ve been educated or are born in another country but have full working rights and don’t need sponsorship- say so! Don’t let the reader of your CV assume anything potentially problematic.


  1. Some bugbears about the most suckiest of CVs…


  • Writing in the third person is a bit strange. We know you are writing it!
  • Please don’t include inspirational quotes. They will not inspire a phone call, or anything else.
  • Avoid rating yourself on various skills! I personally have a chuckle when I see the ratings. How have people come to these rating conclusions?
  • Photos big boxes, tables, colour blocks or anything other than clear text is not necessary.


So! If you’re feeling sheepish after reading this, the good news is you can go and stop your CV from actively sucking right now. It’s easy. 


Please get in touch if you’d like to tell me that it’s not your CV but me that sucks. My mind is ready to be changed.