9. Career summary

Moving to the second page, put your name, and the words ‘career summary’ on the top line in the same size and type of font as you used for your name on the first page.

For each role, use an invisible table to hold job title, dates and employer name tidily. To do this, create a table, put the text in the table, and at the very end select the table, press ‘format’, ‘borders and shading’, and then ‘no border’.

You can also use the ‘right justify’ function in Word to make the dates stand out in the right margin. If they go over the edge of the table, look at the ruler on the top of the Word document, and use your mouse to move the margin tabs in a bit.

Make the job title and the employer name bold, but don’t put them in capitals – it looks as though you are shouting.

Give a brief idea of what you did in each role, and then use bullets to list achievements. Don’t exaggerate but don’t under-sell yourself. If you did something, then say so. If you didn’t have formal responsibility for doing so, then say: under the guidance of…, or, in support of… (adding in the job title of the person whose job it was), but don’t just leave key achievements out if they were your own achievement.

Don’t say ‘we’, say ‘I’. If you didn’t do something alone, it is perfectly ok to say: ‘as part of a team, I…’

Bullet points are absolutely fine, especially if the role is technical. For a creative role like marketing, showing off your running copy is important, so you may want to write in paragraphs. In a technical world, bullets work well.

Write out what you did in full, and then précis so that it reads pithily. Don’t let the job descriptions get wordy. Spend the bulk of the words on your achievements.

Watch out for any overly-employer-specific jargon in job titles. If your job title would only make sense to your current or past employer, then alter it subtly – without exaggerating – to make the job title say what you actually did.

Rounding up not-so-relevant past roles into a list is a really good idea. For instance, you might say:

Other roles
Marketing manager, Saddle and Co, increasing sales in a competitive market; Management trainer, McDonagh Partnership, writing and training courses in line management, appraisal, coaching and assertiveness; BPR team leader at AimHigh, managing a collaborative team of 19 on a business process re-engineering project in a major retail bank; manager of change at New View Consulting, rationalising 43 helpdesks to 26; marketing apprentice, T.E. Charles Ltd.”

This way, you don’t waste space, but you don’t leave any awkward gaps either.

Note that this is not the same thing as claiming an extra few months with an employer to hide a few months spent somewhere else.