How do I write a CV?

We’re often asked, “how do I write a CV?” when people register with us. We know that when you haven’t written a CV before, the prospect can seem a little daunting. There’s lots of templates and advice available online. However, the sheer amount can sometimes be off-putting – which one should you choose and whose advice should you listen to?

There is no right or wrong answer to that. Your CV is your first introduction to an employer, so it needs to give them an idea of what value you can bring to the company, and ideally a little flavour of your personality. We’ve seen quite a few CVs in our time (to state the obvious), so we thought we’d offer our take on the subject.

What is a CV and why does it matter?

A Curriculum Vitae (or CV as we commonly say) is a short written document of your work history, qualifications, and education. Your CV is used by employers to screen job applicants and assess whether they might be right for the job. The information you put in your CV will help employers to shortlist people for interview and will often be referred to by your interviewer throughout your interview.

What should I include in my CV?

While there is a lot of variation in structure and presentation, there are some things that are expected within a CV.

  • Your personal details (name and how to contact you) – your gender and date of birth is not necessary here.
  • Work experience (with the most recent experience first) – Try and give a brief description of what you do in the job, any responsibilities you have and any training you did.
  • Education and qualifications (most recent first)
  • References (on request)

There are some other sections that you can add when writing your CV to make you stand out.

  • Personal profile or statement – this is a few lines about who you are and what you are looking for or can offer a company. This section can help grab the reader’s attention and give them context to your work history. Focus on your key skills and give the employer a reason to shortlist you. To really impress, adapt this section to the job you’re applying for.
  • Hobbies and interests – add these only if you think they might be relevant to the job or company culture or interesting to the employer. Socialising isn’t a hobby!

CV checklist

  • Keep it brief and relevant
  • Check spelling and grammar – use Editor on Word or similar
  • Choose a professional font – make sure it’s easy to read
  • Be logical in your layout and use headings and bullet points.

Bronya’s top tips

Remember this is a professional document.

  • Don’t use funny or potentially off-putting email addresses – the safest option is an email address with just your name (and numbers if needed). You can easily create a free email address from Google, Outlook, or others.
  • Consider your social presence online – don’t use a profile photo that might put an employer off and check your privacy settings.
  • Be honest – don’t get caught out in interview with something that isn’t real on your CV. If you’re open and honest you are more likely to find a job that’s right for you.
  • If you’re on LinkedIn, make sure your work history matches your CV.
  • Keep it short and sweet – 2 pages is ideal. If you’re running out of space, give priority to your newest experience and qualifications.
  • Tackle any gaps in your work history head on and supply brief reasons for them, expanding in a cover letter if it is necessary. Put a positive spin on any gaps, drawing attention to any useful skills or experience.
  • Think about the language you are using – this isn’t the same as writing a social profile aimed at your friends. Remember you are writing to a hiring manager and stick to professional language.
  • If you’re just entering the world of work, don’t worry. Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn will go a long way and you can make the most of your extracurricular activities and hobbies to show transferable skills. Show that you know what you’re aiming at and how you plan to contribute to the company.
  • Register with a recruitment agency – when we meet with you, we will find everything we need to increase your chances with an employer, so your CV won’t be your only tool in your job search toolbox.

Find a CV template that you like online and get writing – almost all employers, recruitment agencies, and job sites will ask you for one.

How Octopus can help.

If you would like support writing your CV for the first time, we can help you. Once you’re registered with us, we can set up a CV writing appointment with Anna or Katherine and they will guide you through the process and even print copies for you. Call us on 01747 825568 to make a CV appointment.

If you’ve never registered with an agency before, you can read our blog How to register with a recruitment agency or give us a call on 01747 825568.

Bronya Tanner

About the author

I look after the office here at Octopus and will usually be the first person you speak to. I keep everyone organised and ready for the day ahead and love that we all work as a team to help find the right job matches.

At home I am a keen baker and have my own Insta food blog! I’ve already made the odd Showstopper for our Octopus events and my Signature bake would have to be a celebration cake.

The Jobsmobile at the Job Fair in Sturminster Newton

On Thursday 21st October, The Jobsmobile took its first outing to The Job Fair at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton. After the previous day’s torrential rains Sandra would have been forgiven for being a little nervous about the local flooding, but the sun came out and Sandra and Alice arrived smiling, excited to attend our first Job Fair since lockdown began.

With a prime position reserved at the front of The Exchange for The Jobsmobile, our new mobile office created a lot of buzz from the offset, and Alice was inside the hall to chat to visitors about our current jobs.

The Jobsmobile

The Job Fair was just the job to talk to local people about their job hunting and how we can help everyone on their job search.

Many people think that recruitment agencies are only for those in senior positions, but recruiters can actually help you find full-time, part-time or temping opportunities, no matter what stage of your life.

Jobs Fair Sturminster Newton

If you missed the Job Fair, here are a few of the tips that Sandra and Alice chatted with visitors about.

Job Hunting with Octopus Personnel

Recruitment agencies essentially exist to help companies fill their vacancies – and to help you find a job.

We work with a wide range of the best employers in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. They are busy driving their businesses forward and use us to meet and select the best candidates they can short-list from. This offers a significant time saving – especially when they’re hiring for lots of roles.

At Octopus Personnel, we meet with every single person we register to get to know you – your aspirations, personality, talents and experience – so we can make the perfect match between you and the employer. Then we help you with preparing for work, ensuring you are interview-ready by helping you with your CV and giving you interview tips.

The Job Fair at Sturminster Newton

Our service is completely free to job seekers! It’s the employers who pay us to find them workers.

  • We have jobs you won’t find elsewhere! Many companies choose recruitment agencies as their only method of sourcing new employees.
  • We are experts in the local job market. We have an extensive client list and work with some of the best employers in the South West. The cornerstone of our success is our knowledge and special relationships we have forged with employers and job seekers in the local community.
  • You’ll get expert guidance from a professional. You’ll have a dedicated consultant who’ll be able to give you loads of information, including where the best jobs are that fit your profile, what particular employers are looking for, and how to gain that all important experience and qualifications to boost your CV and show you are prepared for working.
  • Your success is our success! We want you to succeed, and will always go that extra mile in terms of advice, support and finding the right fit. We can help you to improve your CV and coach you for interviews – our support can be a great bonus in a competitive job market.

The process is nice and simple.

  • Try and have your CV ready. There are lots of guides on the internet and our website has handy tips and advice. Make sure you’ve had a go at getting the basic information down, then we can help improve it! Submit your CV to
  • Book an appointment with one of our consultants on 01747 825568 if you haven’t already done so at the Job Fair. We can meet you at the office or over video call such as FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp.
  • When you come to see us, relax! It’s easier said than done, but you’ll perform a lot better if you try to take the whole process in your stride. Use your experience with us as a practice run, and we’ll have plenty of tips and advice for you before you head out to your interview with an employer.

It’s much easier preparing for work with our guidance! Remember, we’re here to help so book an appointment to register with us and keep in touch. If you’d like to find out a bit more about the registration process, read our blog – How to register with a recruitment agency.

If you visited us at the Job Fair, we hope you found your visit useful and we’d love to hear what you thought. Give us a call or pop us an email if we can help.

Many thanks to Jacqui and the team over at Stur Biz who organised such a successful event to help local people. You can find out more about Stur Biz by visiting their website:

The Jobsmobile

Our Jobsmobile is now officially on the move. If you’re an employer or community service and would like to find out more about our on-site recruitment drives with The Jobsmobile, give the team a call on 01747 825568.

The Jobsmobile

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!


How to register with a recruitment agency

How to register with a recruitment agency

 The job market is changing. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS)*, job vacancies are reaching record highs. Over the period June to August 2021, job vacancies grew by 35%, with all industry sectors increasing their number of vacancies. This is great for the job searcher and now is the best time to enter the job market or look for the next step in your career.

With employers looking to recruit again following the impact of COVID-19, many employers are leaving the recruitment process in the hands of the recruitment agencies. This means it is a great time to register with a recruitment agency so that you’re first in line to hear about a new job.

Octopus Personnel is Gillingham High Street’s local recruitment agency, finding the right people for the right jobs in Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire. We recruit for permanent and temporary positions from warehouse, production, and industrial, to office and technical jobs.

With lots of people realising that recruitment agencies are the best way of job searching, how can you make sure that you are the first person that springs to mind for a recruiter?

The key is in a successful registration. Alice gives her top tips to successfully register with Octopus Personnel and ensure you stand out at your appointment.


What is a registration?


What is a Registration and Why Does it Matter?

A registration with Octopus Personnel includes a 20-minute appointment with one of our friendly Octopus Recruitment Consultants. We also need some necessary details to be able to help you on your job search like your personal details, identity check and GDPR form so that we’re complying with our legal requirements. It doesn’t take long to fill in, we promise!

Your registration is an opportunity for us to meet you face to face and have an informal conversation with you. This enables us to get a better feel for the types of jobs and employers that would be the best fit for you and your interests and skills. We are looking for the right person for our clients and a job for you that you will be happy in.

All our registration appointments are face-to-face so that we can dedicate time to get to know you and consider how best to represent you to employers. Thanks to the joys of technology, you can either come to our office in Gillingham or have a meeting over FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp!


How to have a successful registration


How to register with a recruitment agency

Be Honest

Be honest with yourself and us with the types of jobs you are looking for and are likely to seriously consider. Let us know if there is a salary you need to reach to pay the bills and let us know about anything that will affect your job search or employment.

Our team is friendly and approachable and have a lot of experience in dealing with all sorts of situations. They will give you feedback on your CV and let you know any changes they think might be needed. They’ll listen to your experience in other jobs – good and bad – and give you advice on interviews and what jobs might be a good fit.


How to register with a recruitment agency

Be realistic

Think about what you want – are your expectations achievable? Do you have the skills and experience for the job you want? Are your salary expectations reasonable?

For some jobs you might need to do some assessments, for example, Word, Data Entry, Excel or even Welding. This gives us a great idea of your suitability for a job and means that you will stand out to the employer.


How to register with a recruitment agency

Be flexible

We might see potential in a job you’ve not considered before. Be open to new ideas and types of working. Keep the days and hours you can work as flexible as possible. Consider shift work, temporary jobs, and events. You never know, the client you work for at an event might be impressed with you and have a job opening. Or the temporary job might turn into a permanent position. It happens a lot!


How to register with a recruitment agency

Be confident

Be confident and show us who you are! We’re here to help you find the right job for you, so we need to see who you are. Let us get to know the real you and we can give you tips and advice to show your strengths for the jobs you want.


How to register with a recruitment agency

Keep in contact

Keep us up to date with any change of details. Let us know if you’d consider new types of jobs or working hours. It all helps us to find the right match for you.

Sign up for our job alerts and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We post our new jobs on our website and our social media, so if you see a job that you like, let us know!


How to register with a recruitment agency

Remember our top tips!

We’re here to help.

First impressions count so consider the way you dress and present yourself. Be kind, courteous and respectful.

Listen to our advice! We want you to succeed and we’ll use all our expertise and experience to find you the right job.

Take the tests! Some job roles require skills assessments or short video introductions or video interviews. Don’t be shy and don’t put these off. See this as a great opportunity to put yourself ahead of the competition.


Register with Octopus Personnel and kick start your job search today!

At Octopus Personnel, we take the time to really get to know our job searchers because we love what we do, and we love changing people’s lives for the better.

We are experts at presenting our job searchers to our clients, so that they can see all the skills and experience you can bring to a job. Years of industry expertise and great relationships with our clients means that we are the best solution to find you the right job.

Book an appointment to register with us on 01747 825568 or send us your details here.


Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!