What exactly is a good CV?

By Tracy Leung, Manager – Sales & Marketing

In any job application process, before you even reach the interview stage, how your resume is written gives the very first impression of what sort of person you are – whether you are organised, or careless, or detail-minded etc. It may sound cliché, but believe it or not, we often receive CVs that really put us off from sharing with clients. Below are some basic rules on what makes a good CV:

1) Photo

There is no yes or no answer as to whether you should put your photo on your CV, but if you decide to add one, make sure it’s a decent, corporate looking one. No selfies, or photos taken with a weird background; no scruffy clothing, or fake eyelashes; and most importantly, smile! The photo should represent you exactly as you would present yourself at an interview; I would imagine you wouldn’t wear a t-shirt to an interview, so why use a photo in which you’re wearing a t-shirt?

2) 2-minute rule

Think about the job description of the position you are applying for – you want to know exactly what the job responsibilities are.

The same theory applies to your CV, as this gives your hiring manager an initial idea about your experience. Imagine if your hiring manager only had two minutes to read your CV – what would you like to highlight?

I know the work environment here in Hong Kong is tough, so you may work across different functions and somehow the job scope is so broad that you don’t even know where to start. It’s time to show your organisation skills by outlining your key responsibilities with one or two points to illustrate them, as well as your key achievements.

Use bullet points and identify the keywords. A 10-page essay would require more than two minutes to read and would look far too clumsy.

3) A short self-introduction

In the same way as with a job description you want to know a brief introduction about the company you are applying to, your hiring manager would also like to know more about you other than just your experience.

The introduction need only be four or five lines, and then you can tell your hiring manager more about yourself during the interview.

4) Format

Formatting shows how organised you are and your attention to detail. Try to use one or maximum two different fonts and font sizes in your CV and make sure to use bold, italics and underlining very carefully.

If you want to lay out your experience like this:




Keep it that way and don’t jump from one format to another.

Always double check your CV before sending it out. Don’t forget to add your contact information (email and phone number). We often receive CVs with no contact information, but we do really want to contact you.

Also, update your CV regularly.

5) Leave room to present yourself during the interview

Your CV is like a hook that leads to the interview, which is like a presentation of yourself. Leave some room to illustrate your responsibilities, challenges or achievements by giving more vivid examples or presentations during the interview. Yet make sure to list the key ones on your CV so that your hiring manager can recall these at some point after the interview.

Due to the economic slowdown in China, the Asian economy looks weak in everyone’s mind. However, a lot of new companies are still looking into entering the Asian market and see Hong Kong as the regional base with which to start. Therefore, instead of worrying about the unknown future and job market, we should all prepare ourselves for the best.

Get in touch now to discuss more and let us take your career to the next level!