How to Tell If Your CV Is Good Enough [Checklist + Free Template]

By January 22, 2021 No Comments
Woman wearing a pink top with an anxious facial expression

You’ve heard all these stories about recruiters or managers tossing CVs in the bin before even getting a look at them. It could be scary knowing that whether you get that job or not depends on a piece of paper. One, supposed to make a great first impression on your behalf.

After the many layoffs due to COVID-19, many will be looking for a job. Whether you are one of them or not, your CV matters. If you keep sending applications and don’t hear from anyone, you are probably wondering “Is my CV any good? Does it represent my skills in the best way possible?”

When you apply for a job at Blue Lynx, you have to attach your CV as a PDF or a Word doc. Once you go through the registration process, your CV ends up in the hands of our Administrators. If they had a penny for every time they get asked “Is my CV good enough”, they’d be filthy rich.

So, today, we will answer this and other frequently asked questions. This way you’ll know whether your CV is good to go or it needs improvement.
But, before we dive into answering those, you first need to have a CV, right? If you still haven’t created yours, now is the time.

CV Building Platforms You Can Try

In case you want to try an alternative to the Microsoft office CV template, here our picks. Some of them are free, some require a subscription fee. 

Enhancv (English)

They have great-looking stylish templates and features. You get a 7-day free trial and the chance to upgrade to a paid plan later on. It’s very easy to use and their website is full of helpful tips and advice on finding a job in a variety of industries.

CVster (Dutch)

The free account lets you create a CV from scratch and share it online. The paid versions expand on these options and give you access to more tools and templates.


Canva is a great drag-and-drop design tool, which lets you create beautiful CVs. It’s free to create an account and once you do so, you can choose what you wish to design. They have a large number of resume templates that you can customise. Whether you want a more corporate or creative look, Canva has it all.

In Reality, It Doesn’t Need to Look Very Fancy

Whether you want to add colour, text accents, icons, etc. it’s entirely up to you. Unless you are applying for a job in the creative industries, your CV won’t be judged so much on the design. Consider it as a way to express yourself, your personality, how neat and orderly you are or how creative and extravagant.

If you want something quick and easy that covers the basics, download our CV template for free and simply fill it up with your details.

Common CV Questions We Get

Why is CV so important?

Your CV (or resume, if you are American) is sometimes the only chance you get to make an impression on your potential employer. It is a tool to get yourself an appointment for an interview. Simply applying with your CV will not get you the job. However, it is a powerful tool when used right. That’s why it is important to be tailored for the position you are applying for.

What should my CV include?

First and foremost, your name and contact details, your most recent work experience and other relevant employment information. If you are applying for a designer, you will want to showcase your sense of good aesthetics by creating a good-looking CV. For accountants, however, the visuals won’t matter as much.

Some people include references in it too, hobbies and supporting skills, and volunteering experience. You can do that if it is appropriate for the job. Including those will give the employer a much more wholesome impression of your personality.

If you’re still struggling and don’t know where to start, you can also opt for using a free resume builder online

What format should my CV be in?

Generally, it depends on the requirements of the employer or recruiting agency. The most common formats are PDF and Word Documents. Just make sure you know which format is wanted, it shows attention to detail – employers like that.

Should my CV be one page only?

It’s often argued that a CV is a long-format document with all your experience in one place and a resume is a concise one-pager you tailor for a specific job. CV is mostly used in Europe and resume in the USA but these two terms are fluid and in many cases, used interchangeably.

We go through hundreds of CVs every week and we’ve seen it all. From a single page to 11-pages long documents. Not that it all depends on the length, but generally it’s recommended to keep it as short and concise as possible.

We all have limited time. Think about the hiring manager that will be going through your CV. You want to make your strengths seen at first glance.

Your CV is not a portfolio.

If you have many publications and projects you would like to showcase, the best thing to do is to create an online portfolio and send it as a link. You will save recruitment agents and employers a lot of time in trying to find their way around your CV for the most important bits. You can expand on them in your cover letter.

A piece of advice we give to applicants for sales positions. You don’t try to get the job with your CV, just like you don’t try to close a deal with a cold call.

How do I make my skills stand out?

Hopefully, you have a lot of achievements that you can talk about in the interview. But, they need to find their place in your CV as well. Author Lazslo Bock suggests the following layout:
Accomplishment -> A measurable result -> How You Did It

Let’s see this in practice.

“I increased sales revenue [accomplishment] by 2% [measured against a percentage] by perfecting my cold call script” [how you did it]

For some disciplines, measuring your work can be tricky or seem impossible. You can still find a way to measure your impact in numbers.  Let’s say you are a creative content writer. You write blogs for companies. You can measure your success by the number of leads, clicks, traffic your blogs bring to the website, etc.

One more thing. It’s always harder to reflect on your accomplishments and think about them once some time has passed. We recommend you keep a list of your achievements every month. Track the progress of the projects you are working on and your personal contribution to them. It will make CV writing much easier.

How about references?

In the Netherlands, collecting employer references is a common practice. With that in mind, you don’t need to have them attached to your CV. You may include a piece of text in the CV saying “References available upon request”.

So, How Do You Tell If Your CV Is Good Enough?

Keyboard, a blue button with the text "send CV'.

Next time you find yourself asking that question, here’s a checklist. 

☐ Your CV has all the important information (personal and contact info, work experience and education)

☐ It has a good structure and each bit is clearly separated from the rest

☐ It does not include any information that might be seen as a weakness (for example: low grades on your university or school exams)

☐ It is not too long – one or two pages should be enough

☐ It has your accomplishment backed up by measurable results

☐ A friend/colleague/a family member has read it and given you feedback

☐ No grammar and punctuation mistakes (this is an important one)

☐ It is in the right format

If you tick all these boxes, then you have nothing to worry about. We wish you all the best of luck in your job search. 🍀

Other articles you might find useful:
How to make a winning CV
Examples of how to write a Cover Letter
Interview Tips